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Exercises for Frozen Shoulder (adhesive capsulitis)

Erik Parkin exercise therapy 1 Comment , , , ,

Because of the high mobility observed in the shoulder joint, it has its fair share of commonly observed injuries. Frozen shoulder or adhesive capsulitis is a common shoulder disorder which hampers mobility in your ball-socket joint, inflicting pain, stiffness and inflammation. Treatment for the disorder is a heavy mix of physical therapy, occupational therapy, exercise therapy, medication, massage therapy, chiropractic and in severe cases surgery.

What is frozen shoulder?
Our shoulder joint is a spheroidal joint (ball-socket joint) which has the head of the upper arm bone fit perfectly into the socket of the shoulder blade. Frozen shoulder is caused by formation of scar tissue in the joint leaving no room for movement. The condition is commonly accompanied by pain and inflammation further restricting the range of motion which is reduced by stiffness. The name adhesive capsulitis is derived from Latin words which mean “sticking to the container” and “inflammation”.

Common causes
A definite cause for frozen shoulder has not been documented yet, but there are a few risk factors that can be considered as the probable cause of the disorder. Risk factors for frozen shoulder include diabetes, stroke, recent injury or fracture, age above 40 years, gender (70% female patients), lung diseases, connective tissue disorders, Parkinson’s disease and cardiovascular diseases.

Exercises for Frozen Shoulder
A frozen shoulder resolves on without surgery in most cases with a good combination of physical therapy and medication, but the healing process takes time. To regain about 90% of range of motion it will take around 18-24 months. Below are a few exercises you can perform for relief from frozen shoulder

  •  Overhead raise

The most common and effective exercise to restore shoulder function, overhead is performed by lying down on your back with a pillow supporting your neck arms stretched straight, in a relaxed position. Now, grab the wrist of your injured arm gently while the thumb points in the upward direction. Move your arm upwards, over your head as far as your injury permits and hold it for 5 seconds. Repeat this 8-10 times per set while performing 3-5 sets a day.

  • Pendulum

Lean over a midsized support equipment (chair) with one arm supporting your leaning efforts and the injured arm suspended in the air, downwards. Keep your legs positioned in a forward-backward position. Now, rock your arm in clockwise motion and then in anti clockwise motion from your back foot to your front foot. Continue doing it for 60 seconds. This exercise is to be repeated 3-5 times per day.

  • Back Clasp

The back clasp exercise might be difficult to perform in the initial stages. The exercise involves standing with legs shoulder length apart and arms stretched straight downwards. Now, move your arms towards your back and clasp them together. Slowly move your arms upwards while keeping them straight. Move them as far as you can, till your injury permits and hold the position for 5 seconds. Repeat the exercise 8-10 times a set and 3-5 sets a day.

Recovery from a frozen shoulder takes long time and so patients need to be dedicated to the treatment plan suggested by their therapists.