Healing a Frozen Shoulder

Shoulder pain is a common occurrence for many adults. The diagnosis is usually what is called frozen shoulder, which consists of a loss of range in motion in the shoulder joint. The more scientific name for this is adhesive capsulitits. This happens to many people who have had any previous problems with their shoulder or had an injury or immobility in that area. If there has been previous inflammation, scarring, thickening or shrinkage around the shoulder, then having frozen shoulder is easier to occur. Frozen shoulder can be diagnosed through an examination and confirmed with an injected dye and x-ray or an MRI scan.


If you come to find that you do have this shoulder joint problem, then there are some treatment options. Those who keep up with physical therapy can see great results and get back full range of motion. Physical therapy for frozen shoulder can include ice pack, exercises, electric stimulation, ultrasound and strengthening. There is also the option to have surgery to manipulate the shoulder and break up the scar tissue. Sometimes a cortisone injection into the shoulder is also used to reduce inflammation and reduce pain. After this surgery or injection, physical therapy or an exercise program is important so the shoulder fully heals and maintains mobility.


The most popular form of ‘thawing’ a frozen shoulder is to use a combination of mobility, strengthening, stretching, and massage to get rid of the pain and regain motion. You can be instructed on the correct exercises and movements by a physical therapist to ensure you do all of the motions correctly and do not further injure your shoulder.


Mobility: The joint in the shoulder can move in many directions and every motion affects other motions. Therefore being able to move that joint in all directions is essential to having a fully functional shoulder. There are some main motions that are usually worked when dealing with a frozen shoulder but making sure every natural direction can move is important.

Strengthening: Strength training should be done all around the shoulder joint. Using light weights and resistance bands will improve the movement. Once your shoulder has improved then adding more weight will strengthen your shoulder and help you from getting having reoccurring episodes of frozen shoulder in the future.
Stretching: With the large number of muscles that are connected to the shoulder, it is important to get all of them stretched in order to get full range of motion back. To stretch all the muscles and tendons surrounding the shoulder, different types of stretches need to be performed with stretching in multiple directions. A physical therapist can give instruction on how to ensure you stretch all the muscles and get the best results possible from these exercises.
Massage: Finally, massaging the muscles, tendons, skin and tissue around the shoulder is extremely helpful in healing. Massaging makes the tissue healthy and able to work better. Whether you do it yourself, or pay to have a massage you can work towards getting rid of tightness and pain.

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