We’ve all experienced stiff shoulders after working on computers for hours together at some point or other. But have you ever felt this pain persist for longer than it should? If that's the case, you could be experiencing Frozen Shoulders.
Frozen shoulder is a condition in which the shoulder becomes stiff, painful, and has limited motion in all directions due to inflammation of the shoulder capsule. It is also known as Shoulder Belt Adhesive Capsulitis.
The shoulder capsule is the connective tissue surrounding the shoulder’s glenohumeral joint. While the causes of frozen shoulders are unclear, most doctors recommend therapy of painkillers and shoulder exercises to reduce inflammation and pain.
Mobility and strengthening exercises help ease pain, improve movement, and help functional activities. Here is a simple exercise one can do to ease symptoms of a frozen shoulder. Remember to stretch and warm-up before doing these exercises gently.
- Pendulum Stretch:
The pendulum stretch is the first exercise for frozen shoulders. Relax your shoulders, lean in a little, and let the arm fall. Ensure the arm is straight, and a gentle pull at the shoulder. Slowly swing the arm in a small circle, about a foot in diameter.
Start by performing ten revolutions in each direction once a day. Increase the diameter of your swing once you notice your symptoms improving. It would be best if you took care never to force the joint. You can then gradually introduce lightweights into your routine.
- Towel Stretch:
Take a three-foot-long towel, hold one end of it behind your back, and grab the opposite end with your other hand. Holding the towel horizontally, use your good arm to pull the affected arm upward to stretch it. Repeat the motion by holding the bottom of the towel with the affected arm and pulling it toward the lower back with the unaffected arm. Do this 10 to 20 times a day.
- Finger Walk:
Stand at three-quarters of an arm's length from a wall. With the fingertips of your affected arm, touch the wall at waist level.
Slightly bend your elbow and slowly walk your fingers up the wall until your arm is raised as comfortably far as possible. Slowly lower the arm and repeat. Do this at least ten to twenty times a day.
- Cross-body Reach:
For this exercise, use your unaffected arm to lift your affected arm at the elbow and then bring it up across your body, exerting gentle pressure to stretch the shoulder. Maintain the stretch for 15–20 seconds. This process should be repeated 10 to 20 times per day.
- Outward Rotation:
Hold a rubber exercise band like the Vissco ACTIVEBAND with your elbows at a 90-degree angle close to your sides to do an outward rotation. Hold for five seconds while rotating the affected arm's lower half outward two or three inches. This should be done 10 to 15 times per day. However, make sure you do these and other rotator cuffs–strengthening exercises only when your range of motion has improved.
- Inward Rotation:
For this exercise, you can use a Rubber Exercise Band. Hook one end of the band on the doorknob of a closed door and hold the other end with your affected arm while maintaining your elbow at a 90-degree angle. Pull the band two or three inches towards your body and hold for five seconds. Repeat this process ten to fifteen times per day.
Remember to stretch and warm-up before doing these exercises gently.