Do not Get Frozen Shoulder - start stretching!

Many patients have been presenting with the inability to move the shoulder well due to stiffness and/or tightening felt at the shoulder joint. In this post I will explain what you are able to do to prevent full blown frozen shoulder.


First lets talk about what Frozen Shoulder is. In simple words - Frozen Shoulder is the gradual decrease in movement of the shoulder due to pain or stiffness. Another medical term for Frozen Shoulder is Adhesive Capsulitis. The condition is most common in the fifth and sixth decades of life, with the peak age in the mid-50s. Frozen shoulder occurs predominantly on one shoulder and not both and is usually self-limited, although evidence about prognosis is limited, and the course can be prolonged, in some cases lasting over two to three years.


Causes of Frozen Shoulder include - Injuries, surgery and diabetes to name a few but also can occur without any cause. Medical studies are still being done on this exciting topic.



Frozen shoulder is commonly described as progressing through three phases:


●First, an initial, painful phase with development of diffuse, severe, and disabling shoulder pain that is worse at night, and increasing stiffness that lasts for two to nine months.


●Second, an intermediate phase with stiffness and severe loss of shoulder motion, but with pain becoming gradually less pronounced, that lasts for 4 to 12 months.


●Finally, a recovery phase with a gradual return of range of motion that takes from 5 to 24 months to complete.


Before a physician can diagnose Frozen Shoulder we need to make sure there are no other causes of shoulder restriction. These can include a proper physical examination and imaging studies.


SO NOW WHAT DO WE DO TO PREVENT OR HEAL......Start the stretches :)



Here are some examples of exercises for your shoulder. Start each exercise slowly. Ease off the exercise if you start to have pain.



Shoulder stretch

1. Stand in a doorway and place one arm against the door frame.

2. Your elbow should be a little higher than your shoulder.

3. Relax your shoulders as you lean forward, allowing your chest and shoulder muscles to stretch.

4. You can also turn your body slightly away from your arm to stretch the muscles even more.

5. Hold for 15 to 30 seconds.

6. Repeat 2 to 4 times with each arm.




Shoulder and chest stretch

1. While sitting, relax your upper body so you slump slightly in your chair.

2. As you breathe in, straighten your back and open your arms out to the sides

3. Gently pull your shoulder blades back and downward.

4. Hold for 15 to 30 seconds as your breathe normally.Repeat 2 to 4 times.



Overhead stretch

1. Reach up over your head with both arms.

2. Hold for 15 to 30 seconds.

3. Repeat 2 to 4 times


These simple but effective stretches can help prevent and cure frozen shoulder. These stretches are considered home physical therapy and can actually be used for other shoulder conditions as well.


In our next blog post I will breakdown what happens in a Motor Vehicle Accident where mostly all patients have neck pain, shoulder pain, back pain or a combination of them all.

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