Frozen Shoulder Exercises – Rehabilitative Stretches to Cut Down Recovery Times

A frozen shoulder, medically called Adhesive Capsulitis, is perhaps the most disabling of all shoulder disorders, afflicting thousands of people across the globe, more women than men. It is caused by adhesions, thickened scars of the capsule membrane surrounding the rotator cuff that interfere with the shoulder joint and restrict range of movement. Normal remedies include hot packs, ultrasound and of course anti inflammatory medication. However, while these treatments are helpful in a way or another, only a physical therapy program of specific frozen shoulder exercises can effectively reduce recovery times and pain.

An Adhesive Capsulitis is a long lasting affliction that naturally resolves in one to three years, depending on severity. It develops in three phases, a freezing phase, a frozen phase and a thawing phase. Specific low pain threshold stretching exercises can help reduce recovery times and regain mobility and flexibility in all stages. Immobility is not recommended as it will make the situation worse and encourage stiffness and thickening of the adhesions.

For the frozen shoulder exercises to be effective, they must be performed with dedication, as persistency plays a key factor for success. Half an hour a day for 3 days a week in the comfort of home is all is needed for this program to be effective. Other treatments as mentioned above can also be taken as ancillary remedies to help loosen the adhesions and relieve pain. Hot packs are a good idea to soften up the adhesions before the stretching sessions, while cold packs are useful after the therapy or before going to bed, to reduce the inflammation induced by the exercising and improve sleep.

Care must be taken not to over stress the shoulder with excessive weight or with an excessive range of motion, as this can increase inflammation and recovery times. A gradual step by step approach implemented with consistency is much more effective.
As an Adhesive Capsulitis greatly varies in natural resolving times, so does a frozen shoulder assisted by a professional program of frozen shoulder exercises, depending on severity and personal response to the treatment.

Unlike inflammations like Tendonitis and Bursitis, it is not completely clear how an Adhesive Capsulitis develops, though there are links to diabetes and being over weight. About 20% of diabetic people do have a frozen shoulder, but it can also occur following periods of inactivity, like after an injury or surgery and it usually strikes people over 40. Sometimes a frozen shoulder may move and affect the other shoulder as well, so it is better to seek a doctor advice no sooner the symptoms show up. Pain is initially limited to night time, but as the disorder progresses, it is persistent day and night.

Manipulation, the breaking of the adhesions under general anesthesia by the surgeon can be effective, but it is a drastic measure that can be avoided in the majority of cases. The good news is that a professionally designed program of frozen shoulder exercises can significantly cut down recovery times, eliminate pain and stiffness, recover full range of motion and avoid manipulation or surgery.

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