Frozen Shoulder Exercises
If you experience a “Frozen Shoulder” syndrome, going for frozen shoulder exercises is a good way to not only bring a relief to your condition but to help actually improve it. The “Frozen Shoulder” or “Adhesive Capsulitis” is a medical condition that bears such symptoms as stiffness and pain in shoulders (usually in one), and limits the movement range or the suffered shoulder. The condition can stay from weeks to years, which in turn may lead to the lost of shoulder motion. To avoid this adequate treatment should be undergone as soon as possible. There is no use in simple pain tolerance, because it can lead to serious consequences.
The problem with the Frozen Shoulder condition is that it is difficult to determine the real cause of it. According to researches it has become known that the condition is more common for females over 40 in a less active shoulder. This condition has two types: Primary Adhesive Capsulitis and Secondary Adhesive Capsulitis. Primary Adhesive Capsulitis is characterized by sudden pain and stiffness, which follows it; this leads to the shoulder’s dysfunction, and has no visible cause of the condition and its symptoms.
Secondary Adhesive Capsulitis is often related to a shoulder trauma, and probably might be connected to the prolonged arm and shoulder immobilization due to the fracture, or after rotator cuff surgery. So the difference between the two types is that in the second type there is some visible cause of the condition, some preceding factor.
Yet, while there is some cause of the Secondary Adhesive Capsulitis, it is still not clear why the condition starts in some persons, and doesn’t in others. That is why it is often referred as idiopathic.
In general we can list some ailments that can become contributors to the frozen shoulder syndrome:
- History of cervical disk ailments
- Patients who underwent open heart surgery
- Trauma which includes surgery
Pain and stiffness of a shoulder are usually the first symptoms one experiences; pain is often that strong that makes the shoulder movement impossible. This limitation of the movement will lead to stiffness, which is the second stage of the syndrome. And the third stage is when the pain factor decreases and the movements range of the shoulder increases. In short, this is a kind of a successful condition progress when the syndrome disappears and the normal state of the shoulder restores.
Let’s look at those stages closer.
Stage of Pain or Acute Stage
The period of pain can take from two to nine month when pain will start to grow and spread slowly; it can even cause sleeping problems, and reduces the shoulder movement range.
The best solution for this stage is to try to reduce pain – this is needed to maintain some movement level o prevent stiffness. One should not do sudden movements or lift heavy weights. For this period you need to do some slow and gentle frozen shoulder syndrome exercises like pendulum exercises; using electrotherapy to relieve pain is a good idea too. Taking hot showers or using a heat pack can be also helpful, and it will improve the blood circulation in the suffered area.
Among the medicines there are Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs or NSAID that are pretty effective in pain reduction. You can also try acupuncture, which has got many positive reviews in the relation to the syndrome.
Second Stage or Freezing Stage
This is the progression from the first stage when the limited shoulder motion leads to the increased stiffness; the pain is still there, and the whole stage can last up to twelve month (the minimal period is usually around four month).
As the time goes the pain will fade away, but the stiffness of the shoulder will rise. You won’t experience much problem with your sleeping as the pain subsides, but the difficulty will come in reaching activities like stretching your hands above your head or putting bra.
The important thing what you should do during this stage is regular exercises to increase the motion range – they often done with theraband (elastic band) or/and other frozen shoulder stretching exercises. You can consult with your physical therapist and physiotherapist on the proper exercise performance and increasing your confidence in your progress.
Thawing Stage or Recovery Phase
This phase will normally last from five to twenty-six months depending on the personal characteristics of the shoulder and the health state in general. Here you need to work on making your coordination better, increasing the movement range and the strength of the muscles. Your physical therapist should give you a full rehabilitation exercise program – frozen shoulder physical therapy exercises – to make the recovery period shorter and more successful. The frozen shoulder exercises video is also available in many programs for individual practices.
So in general, if one experiences the recovery from this condition can take from one to three years. If the stiffness persists then you might need a shoulder surgery. The surgery comes in two types: Manipulation under Anesthesia (MUA) and shoulder arthroscopy. The aim of both is to increase your shoulder movement range by stretching the shoulder capsule. Again, frozen shoulder treatment exercises are the must for the successful Frozen Shoulder rehabilitation.
Frozen Shoulder Exercises Examples
OK, now let’s look at some exercises that can help with frozen shoulder syndrome. Keep in mind that the main direction of training here is stretching and gentle weight work. Stretching helps to widen the shoulder motion range and gentle weight training helps to stimulate muscles. The frozen shoulder exercises are not limited to treatment only but can also be used to prevent frozen shoulder syndrome.
Although we are going to mention some exercises here it is advised to consult with your physical therapist before you start doing them to get the most of them.
The first exercise is about a flexion movement. You need to stand straight with a stick in your hands, your palms down. Lift your arms by stretching them over your head, with elbows straight. Hold there for a while and then return to initial position. Repeat ten times.
The second exercise extents your movement. Again you hold a stick with your hands, but now behind your back. You need to move the stick away from the back and hold in the end position; try to relax in it and then return to the initial position after some time. Again, ten times.
The third exercise is about external rotation movement. You need to lie on your back, with a stick in your hands, your palms up. Your upper arms are on the floor, elbows at your sides, bent at a 90° angle. With your good arm you need to push an injured arm away from your body, but keep the injured arm elbow at your side. Hold for a while at the end position, and return. Repeat ten times.
The fourth exercise is for an internal rotation movement. Stand straight with a stick in your hands behind your back. You need to grasp the stick by placing your hand on your uninjured side behind your head, and the hand on your injured side behind your back at your waist. Now you need to move the stick up and down your back by bending your elbows. When you reach the bent position hold in it for a while, and then return to starting point. Repeat ten times.
There are many physiotherapy exercises for frozen shoulder, and you simply need to find what works best for you. Always consult with your physical therapist to achieve the best results from your exercises.