Physiotherapy to Release Frozen Shoulder

Frozen shoulder (also known as adhesive capsulitis) is a common disorder, in which the shoulder is stiff, painful and loses normal range of motion. It affects people mainly at the age of 40-60 and is more prevalent in women and diabetic population. The resulting disability can be serious and the condition tends to get worse with time if not treated.

Physiotherapy plays a vital role in the treatment of frozen shoulder, it aims to reduce pain, increase extensibility and improve the strength of the rotator cuff muscles. Physical therapy offers effective stretching exercises to treat frozen shoulder. Following are a few exercises which can help you:

1) Pendulum Stretch

The physiotherapist will ask you to relax your shoulders. This is going to be the initial exercises. All you need is to stand and lean slightly over a table, allowing the affected arm to hang down. Swing the arm in a small circle. Perform 8-10 revolutions in each direction. As the symptoms improve, increase the diameter of your swing, but never force it.

2) Finger Walk

Face the wall 3 quarters of an arm’s length away. Reach out and touch the wall with fingertips of the affected arm. With your elbow slightly bent, slowly walk your fingers up the wall, until you have raised the arm as far as you comfortably can. Your shoulder muscles should not move, but the fingers. Slowly lower the arm and repeat.

3) Armpit Stretch

Stand near a table which is of chest height, using the other hand lift the affected arm onto the table. Gently bend your knees, opening up the armpit. Bend your knees slightly, gently stretching the armpit and then straighten. With each bend, stretch a little further, but do not force it.

4) Strengthening Exercises

As the range of motion increases, your physiotherapist will introduce rotator cuff strengthening exercises which includes:

Outward rotation in which you are suppose to hold an exercise band between the hands with the elbow at 90-degree angle. Rotate the lower part of the affected arm outward two or three inches and hold for 5 seconds.

Inward rotation in which you’ll be asked to stand next to a closed door, and hook one end of the band around the door knob. Hold the other end with the affected arm. Pull the band towards your body 2-3 inches and hold for 5 seconds.

A physiotherapist will teach you the appropriate exercises and show how far to push yourself. Once you have learned your limitations, you can practice the exercises on your own at home. Kindly consult your therapist first.