Frozen Shoulder Treatment & Rehabilitation

September 28, 2023 3 min read

Frozen Shoulder Treatment & Rehabilitation

What is Frozen Shoulder?

Frozen shoulder, also known as adhesive capsulitis, is a condition that causes pain and stiffness in the shoulder joint. It is a common condition, affecting about 2% of people at some point in their lives. Frozen shoulder typically progresses through three stages: the freezing stage, the frozen stage, and the thawing stage.

The freezing stage is characterized by pain and stiffness. The pain is usually worse at night and can make it difficult to sleep. The stiffness can make it difficult to raise the arm overhead or reach behind the back.

The frozen stage is characterised by even more stiffness. The pain may start to improve, but the shoulder is still very stiff. It may be difficult to dress or bathe, and it may be difficult to drive.

The thawing stage is characterized by gradual improvement in the pain and stiffness. The shoulder starts to become more mobile, and the pain starts to decrease.

The exact cause of frozen shoulder is unknown, but it is thought to be due to a combination of factors, including inflammation, changes in the collagen in the shoulder joint capsule, and decreased blood flow to the shoulder.

How is Frozen Shoulder Treated?

Treating frozen shoulder involves a combination of medical interventions and rehabilitation exercises. The primary goal is to reduce pain and restore shoulder function. Here are some common treatment options:

1. Physical Therapy

Physical therapy plays a crucial role in the treatment of frozen shoulder. A physical therapist will guide you through specific exercises and stretches to improve shoulder mobility and strength. These exercises may include range-of-motion exercises using resistance bands or a cable machine, and strengthening exercises with Dumbbells or a Landmine Press.

  • Stretching exercises: Gentle stretching exercises can help to improve range of motion in the shoulder. These exercises should be started slowly and gradually increased as the shoulder improves.

2. Medications

Your doctor may prescribe nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or corticosteroid injections to help reduce pain and inflammation in the shoulder joint. These medications can provide temporary relief and facilitate the rehabilitation process.

3. Heat and Cold Therapy

Applying heat or cold to the affected shoulder can help alleviate pain and reduce inflammation. Heat therapy, such as warm showers or heating pads, can relax the muscles and increase blood flow. Cold therapy, such as ice packs, can numb the area and reduce swelling.

4. Surgical Intervention

In severe cases where other treatments have failed, surgery may be necessary. Surgical procedures for frozen shoulder include arthroscopy, where the surgeon removes scar tissue and adhesions, or manipulation under anesthesia, where the surgeon moves the shoulder joint to break up scar tissue.

Gym Equipment for Fitness while working with your Frozen Shoulder

While exercising in your gym, it's important to choose equipment that won't aggravate your frozen shoulder. Here are some recommendations:

1. Elliptical Trainer

An elliptical trainer provides a low-impact cardiovascular workout that doesn't put excessive strain on the shoulder joint. It helps improve overall fitness without causing additional pain or stiffness.

2. Stationary Bike

A stationary bike either an  upright bike or possibly an air bike is another excellent option for cardiovascular exercise. It allows you to engage in a cycling motion without putting stress on the shoulder. Adjust the seat and handlebars to ensure a comfortable position.

3. Leg Press Machine

The leg press machine targets the lower body muscles while minimizing strain on the upper body. It provides a safe and effective way to strengthen your legs without aggravating your frozen shoulder.

Exercises for Frozen Shoulder

When performing exercises for frozen shoulder, it's crucial to start slowly and gradually increase the intensity. Here are a few recommended exercises:

1. Pendulum Stretch - Stand next to a table and lean forward, supporting your non-affected arm on the table. Let your affected arm hang down and gently swing it in a circular motion. This exercise helps improve shoulder mobility.

2. Cross-Body Reach - Stand up straight and use your non-affected arm to lift the affected arm at the elbow. Bring the affected arm across your body towards the opposite shoulder. Hold for a few seconds and repeat. This exercise helps stretch the shoulder muscles.

3. Wall Climbing - Stand facing a wall and place your fingertips on the wall at waist height. Slowly walk your fingers up the wall, reaching as high as possible without causing pain. Then, walk your fingers back down. This exercise helps improve shoulder range of motion.


Concluding Thoughts

Remember to consult with a healthcare professional or physical therapist before starting any exercise program for frozen shoulder. They can provide personalized recommendations based on your specific condition and needs.

By following a comprehensive treatment plan and incorporating appropriate exercises, you can effectively manage frozen shoulder and regain full shoulder function. Stay consistent and patient throughout the rehabilitation process, and you'll be on your way to a pain-free shoulder.

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