Frozen shoulder is a severe condition which is also known as adhesive capsulitis of the shoulder. In simpler terms, it is associated with pain and stiffness of the shoulder. It becomes challenging to move the affected shoulder in multiple directions by self or by others voluntarily. The development of this condition is mostly not sudden. It develops gradually over a few weeks and months. The shoulder may not hurt when touched, but the movement is painful. Muscles around the shoulder may become thin, or muscle loss may be there. Conditions such as diabetes and thyroid can aggravate or worsen the frozen shoulder and can make healing difficult. Stroke, connective tissue disease, autoimmune disease, heart disease, and Dupuytren's contracture are other risk factors for frozen shoulder. In the development of a frozen shoulder, the mechanisms of inflammation and scarring play an essential role. It can consist of three stages, shares Dr Jyoti Sharma.
- The first stage is a painful stage or ‘freezing’ stage in which there is a slow onset of pain. This stage may last up to 6 weeks or extend up to 9 months. There is a gradual loss of motion of the affected shoulder as the pain worsens. This stage is followed by the second stage called the frozen or ‘adhesive’ stage.
- The second stage is known for slow improvement in pain, but stiffness is almost always present. This stage can last up to 4 to 9 months.
- The next to it is the third stage which is known as the ‘thawing’ or ‘recovery’ stage. In this stage shoulder motion gradually returns and moves towards normal. The third stage can last from five months to twenty-six months.
An essential line of management in case of a frozen shoulder along with medicines is physiotherapy. It is necessary to learn management that can improve the shoulder's movement with lesser pain and problems. Dr Jyoti Sharma (BHMS) explains how you can take benefits from the art of physiotherapy.
Well, the towel at your home can work as a piece of equipment for your physiotherapy
- Get going people! Take out a three-feet -long towel from your collection. Now take both your hands behind your back in a position where one hand holds one and of the towel while the other hand holds the other end of the towel. In case you are lucky enough to have a right arm, use that arm to pull the affected arm upward. The felt stretch can be painful initially, but you will get used to it once you start doing it. Remember, you have to hold the towel in a horizontal position and not get too harsh on yourself suddenly. Improvement will be gradual.
- To get to its advanced version, drape the towel on your right shoulder, with the affected arm hold the towel's bottom and pull it towards the lower back with the unaffected arm. It is advised to go with this exercise 10 to 20 times a day.
Let your armpit open
- Do you have a shelf at your home that comes to the level of your breast in height? If yes, you are ready for a physiotherapy session at your home! Armpit stretch can help you improve the range of motion of your shoulder.
- Use your unaffected arm and lift your affected arm to place it on the shelf. Now gently bend your knees to let your armpit open gradually. Keep deepening your knee bend gradually without causing much strain on the affected shoulder and yet stretching the range of opening of the armpit and straightening your arm. Avoid the force and repeat these 10 to 20 times a day.
- When the range of movement gradually improves with strengthening exercise, add rotator-cuff strengthening exercise to your routine. The precaution here is that every strengthening activity shall be preceded by stretching exercises to warm up the shoulder and avoid the risk of complications such as fractures.
Put your shoulders to rotation!
- For outward rotation, you need a rubber band that can be stretched a lot. Hold such a band between your hands in a position so that both your elbows are at an angle of ninety degrees to your sides. Now, rotate the lower part of the affected arm outward to a distance of two to three inches. Hold yourself in that position for five seconds and gradually keep improving the time of the hold. Begin with doing it 10 to 15 times a day.
- For inward rotation, you can have the door of your room closed. Stand next to it and place one end of the rubber around the knob to be appropriately hooked there. Your affected arm shall be right next to the closed door. Hold the other end of the rubber with the affected arm and place the same arm's elbow at an angle of 90 degrees close to your side. Start pulling the band towards your body and cover a distance of two to three inches. Hold right there for five seconds and repeat the same 10 to 15 times a day.
Crossing your arm is fun too
Crossbody reach can help the shoulder loose stiffness and pain during movement gradually. Here is a privilege in this exercise. You can stand or sit as per your wish. Put your right arm to use to lift your affected arm at the elbow. Bring them up in such a position so that the affected arm lies across your body. This shall be done very gently to stretch the shoulder. Try to hold the stretch as long as 15 to 20 seconds at once. Again, 10 to 20 times a day are good enough to relieve your frozen shoulder gradually.
Make your fingers walk
- Finger walk can be easier to start with. All you need is yourself and a wall. Remember how you kept an arm’s distance from the other kid in the morning assembly at school! Here you have to face the wall and stand at a distance of three-quarters of an arm’s length from the wall. Extend your arms and touch the wall at your waist's level with the affected arm's fingertips. Bend your elbow slightly and slowly let your fingers walk upwards on the wall as up as it doesn’t hurt you a lot and lies within your comfortable range. The movement of your fingers will resemble that of a spider on a wall.
- Allow your fingers to take the pain instead the making the affected shoulder take the pains. After achieving the maximum height that your fingers can, gradually lower your arm with a right arm and repeat the finger-walk. 10 to 20 times a day are good to go with.
Precautions while doing physiotherapy at home
Certain precautions must be exercised while going with Physiotherapy at home. In case you get someone to guide you, maintain proper social distancing to avoid infection transmission chances. Begin slowly and proceed gradually. In case of extreme pain while doing exercises, take help of an expert.
Takeaway Tip: Recovery is desired. Hurrying shall not be in the way. Listen to your body and go with the flow without being harsh on it. In case of confusion, consult a physiotherapist!
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