Frozen shoulder, which is technically known as adhesive capsulitis, is a condition that causes stiffness and pain in your shoulder joint from adhesion build up.
For a frozen shoulder, signs and symptoms typically begin gradually, worsen over time and then resolve, usually within one to three years. Stretches and exercises can help speed up the recovery time.
The first stretches are called pendulums. For a frozen shoulder, using a small weight in your hand helps open up the shoulder joint. Use a chair or counter top for balance, and lean over so your arm hangs down towards the ground. Move your body, not your arm in circles so your arm swings around like a pendulum. You can also rock front to back and side to side. Start off with 10 of each and work your way up to a minute of each.
The next set of exercises will be passive range of motion (PROM), but it is sometimes active assisted rang of motion (AAROM) as well. Take a stick of some sort. Broom sticks work well. You can do some of the movement on your own, but really try to let the cane, broom, or stick do most of the movement. You are going to do all the movement with your good arm. The “bad” or injured arm is just going along for the ride!
First, hold the broom stick straight out in front of you with your good side. Place the other hand on the stick. Lift the stick with the good side slowly, and try to relax the other arm so it does not actively move. Take it as high as you comfortably can, and slowly come back down. Then, put your elbow by your side with your hand straight out at a 90 degree angle. Put the hand of the bad side on the end of the stick again. Keeping your elbow at your side, push outward slowly until you feel a stretch, and then bring it back in. Finally, put the hand of the bad side on the end of the broomstick. Slowly push the arm out to the side and up, and slowly come back down. Do all these 10 times.
Now you will do shoulder shrugs. Lift your shoulders up towards the ceiling, but try to keep your head and neck in one spot. Don’t bring your ears down towards your shoulders, lift your shoulders up. Do 10 of these. Now for shoulder circles. You can roll them clockwise, and then counter clockwise. This will stretch out the shoulder and neck muscles. Start with10 each way, and work your way up from there.
The last stretch is a shoulder flexion stretch using the ground for assistance. Get on the ground and sit on your feet in a child’s pose position. If you can’t get on the ground or your knees hurt too much to bend them, you can slide your arm on a table or countertop. You will slide your arm forward with your thumb facing upward towards the ceiling and lean your body forward until you feel a stretch. Hold it for 3-5 seconds, and start off with 10-15.