It's so important to keep your shoulder moving!
Frozen shoulder can last up to 30 months if left untreated. Transitioning through the full term of a frozen shoulder will take you through three distinct phases.
Phase (1) is the "Freezing" stage during which the pain and restricted movement symptoms gradually worsen. Phase (2) is the "Frozen Stage" during which symptoms are at their worst. Phase (3) is a "Thawing" of the shoulder and a gradual improvement of the symptoms, usually through to complete recovery.
Do what you can - within your own sensible limits
It is generally beneficial to try and keep the shoulder as active as possible through all three phases. The key is to do what you can within the limits of your ability, according to the severity of the symptoms. Even the smallest movements are better than the natural temptation to keep the shoulder still.
Try as hard as possible to perform simple tasks with your painful shoulder, such as brushing your teeth, or using cutlery. Although it may be difficult, these little things together will help to keep the shoulder free and more mobile.
When walking or standing it is far better to allow the arm to hang along the side of your body. This position stretches the biceps tendon; the weight of the arm also slightly separates the shoulder joint which will allow fluid back into the shoulder capsule. Try to let the arm sway as you walk.
If possible - work with a therapist
If you are receiving treatment, your therapist will likely provide you with a tailored program of movement exercises. Below are examples of exercises that are often recommended.
The Elephant - Phase (1)
This is a simple exercise that feels natural to do, and can be performed a number of times throughout the day.
- Stand upright
- Bring the affected shoulder forward and inwards
- Use the other arm to bring the affected arm further over (creating a stretch in the back of the shoulder)
- Maintain a nice even stretch (this should stretch not hurt)
- Hold that position for up to 30 seconds
- Relax and repeat
Front of Shoulder Stretch - Phase (2)
This is a brilliant stretch using the fit ball to really work into the stiff areas of your shoulder. This stretch is also pretty comfortable which means that it can be be held for a long time.
- Sit your knees on a matt or a pillow
- Hands onto the ball
- Roll the ball forward until you feel a stretch in the front of your shoulder
- Keep your head down
- Maintain that posture for up to a minute
- Rest and repeat 3-4 times
The "Airplane" - Phase (3)
- Lie onto your front on the ball, toes touching the floor
- Keep the spine in neutral (you will need to tense your lower back). If this is uncomfortable or painful in the low back, then try this exercise standing
- Keep arms 45 degrees from your body
- Turn your hands so they are facing the floor
- Squeeze your shoulder blades together
- Maintain posture for 15-20 seconds
- Rest and repeat 3-4 times
This trigger point therapy blog is intended to be used for information purposes only and is not intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment or to substitute for a medical diagnosis and/or treatment rendered or prescribed by a physician or competent healthcare professional. This information is designed as educational material, but should not be taken as a recommendation for treatment of any particular person or patient. Always consult your physician if you think you need treatment or if you feel unwell.
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