Passive Range of Motion Exercises
Range of Motion (ROM) exercises
Range of motion exercises, also called ROM exercises, reduce stiffness, prevent deformities and help keep the joint flexible. These exercises can either be active or passive. When a person can perform the exercise himself or herself, active ROM is done. When a person needs someone to do the exercises for him or her, passive ROM exercise is performed. The helper does the ROM because the patient cannot do them by himself.
Importance of Performing the Passive Range of Motion Exercise
If a patient has to stay in bed or is confined in a wheelchair, ROM exercises are very important. Performing these exercises help the joints and muscles as healthy as possible. It increases blood flow and flexibility of the joints. Joints in the knees and elbows can become stiff without ROM exercises. PASSIVE ROM exercises help keep joint areas flexible, however, they do not build up muscles nor make them stronger.
Performing Passive ROM exercises
- Explain the procedure to the patient.
- Raise the patient’s bed in a comfortable height.
- Lock the wheels of the bed or wheelchair.
Head and Neck exercises
- Lay the patient flat on his back (no pillow).
- Support the back of the patient’s head with your one hand and the chin with the other hand.
- Chin- to chest passive ROM exercise – Gently raise the back of the person’s head up from the bed.
- Slowly and gently tip the patient’s chin toward his chest.
- Head turns – place your hand on both sides of the patient’s face.
- Slowly turn the patient’s head to the right, then to his left. Keep in mind that the patient’s head is only turned far enough that his or her nose is lined up above the shoulder.
- Head tilt – with hands on each side of the patient’s face, tilt the head to the side brining the right ear toward the right shoulder. Do the same in the other direction.
Shoulder and Elbow Exercises
- Place your hand on the patient’s elbow and other hand should be holding the patient’s wrist.
- Always keep the patient’s elbow straight or slightly bent if necessary.
- To move the shoulder up and down, turn the patient’s palm towards the body. Then bring the other arm forward and upward over the patient’s head until the inner arm touches his or her ear.
- Bring the arm back down to his side.
- To move the shoulder side to side, the right arm should be raised to side to shoulder level. The nurse or caregiver should raise it upward over the person’s head as possible. After which, bring the arm down to the patient’s side and then swing it across the patient’s body toward the left shoulder. Swing the patient’s arm back to his side.
- To rotate shoulders, the right arm should be brought to the patient’s side. Then bend the elbow so the thumb and the fingers are pointing up. Rotation of the arms follows – rotate the arm so the thumb and fingers point toward the person’s toes.
- After the shoulders, the elbow should be bent up and down. This done by placing the patient’s arm at his side and turning the palm of his hand faced up. After which, bend the arm at the elbow so that the fingers are pointing toward the ceiling. Continue bending the elbow and touch the hand to the front of the right shoulder if possible. Place the patient’s hand back down to his or her side.
- Bend the patient’s elbow side to side holding the right arm out at the shoulder level with the palm facing up. Then, bend the elbow and try to make the person’s fingertips touch the top of his right shoulder.
- Repeat procedure 1 to 8 with the other arm.