A frozen shoulder, also referred to as adhesive capsulitis, seems to come from nowhere. You will be surprised by the pain it causes that will often limit the range of movement even if you are not suffering from any kind of injury. There are no specific tests that can point out that you have the condition.
The best way to conquer this problem is by learning more about it and by knowing the right exercises that you can do at home to help relieve the pain.
It feels frustrating when you wake up and suddenly feel pain. Your mobility becomes limited, which makes it hard for you to accomplish even the simplest tasks, such as bathing and dressing.
What should you do? If the pain is intolerable, go to the doctor immediately. Although, there is no exact treatment, you can take pain relief medications and you may be referred to a qualified physical therapist or PT.
While there are exercises that you can do at home, it’s better to be guided by a professional on how to regain the normal functions of your arm. You have to make sure that it is safe for you to perform the exercises and the assurance must only come from a professional.
Frozen Shoulder Exercises
Before you begin with any programs intended to rehabilitate your condition, check with your doctor or PT if you are allowed to perform the required movements.
- Passive range of motion exercises
This aims to help improve your mobility, but you cannot do this on your own. You need to ask someone to help you perform the exercises. This way, you can simply follow and allow your shoulder to relax while your arm is doing the required movements.
- Using a towel
This is done to stretch your shoulder further. The internal rotation stretch, wherein you put your hand on your back, aims to stretch the joint capsule and rotator cuff muscles.
The first two techniques are intended to prepare you to actively move your arm. The movements will help in increase your range of motion in the rotator cuff.
- Isometric movements
The exercises in this stage aim to make the muscles around your shoulder stronger. This is done in preparation of getting back the normal functions of your arm.
- Scapular stabilization movements
When you have a frozen shoulder, you tend to use your scapula in a rather exaggerated manner so that you can lift an arm. The exercises will help your blades regain control and move according to how it should when you lift your arm.
- Strengthening exercises for the rotator cuff
These movements will require the use of a resistance band. These exercises will make your rotator stronger and improve functionality.
Exercise guide that you can easily follow:
- For the first week, you will need someone to assist you with the movements. You can do the exercises every day. You can split the movements throughout the day.
Your assistant has to support your wrist with one hand and your elbow with the other hand. The injured shoulder must follow the up and down movements. First, your arm has to be raised until it is in front of you. Gently, raise the arm above your head then bring it down and back to your side.
With your elbow and wrist still supported, your assistant will raise your arm to the side. When you have reached the limit of what feels comfortable, the arm has to be brought down to the side.
- On the second week, you can do the exercises on your own. You will now begin using your arm more actively. Perform 15 repetitions of abduction, flexion and external rotation. You can do the exercises twice each day.
- You will feel it once you are ready to move on to the isometric exercises. Press both of your arms into the wall. Hold the position for five seconds then relax. You can do up to 15 repetitions a day.
- When the pain is minimal, you can begin doing the scapular stabilization movements. While lying down, move your arm as if you are rowing. You can do this several times during the day.
It is possible to heal the remaining tightness in your shoulder by using a resistance band in your rotator cuff strengthening routine. Use the band in flexing the shoulder, rotation, abduction and extension. Do this only once a day for up to 15 repetitions.
(Other stretches you might want to try)