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7 Exercises to Fix that Frozen Shoulder

‘Adhesive Capsulitis’, commonly known as frozen shoulder is a condition while limits the movement of
shoulder as it becomes stiff and painful. Due to this, movements can be restricted in some directions. It
can develop as a result of injury, overuse or from diseases such as diabetes or a stroke which forms scar
tissues. This condition takes time to diagnose and goes away even more slowly.

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It generally occurs:
– Post-injury or post-surgery
– In people aged 40-70
– More often in women past their menopause
– With people suffering from chronic diseases

How to treat Frozen Shoulder

Stretching exercises do the trick in most of the cases here. But care should be taken that proper warmup
regime is adopted before trying any of the exercises for any part of the body, therefore you can take a
warm shower or a bath for around 10-15 minutes. It will relax the tissues and muscles surrounding the
shoulder. You can also use a moist heating pad or damp towel heated by any means, but it may not
prove to be as much effective.
After a proper warmup, you can do any of the following exercises. It is advised to do it to the point of
tension and not pain.

1. Pendulum Stretch

The first one is easy and simple to do. Make sure your shoulders are relaxed. Find a support, like
a table. Now stand and lean slightly, and allow the arm (affected arm) to hang down. Now you
are supposed to swing it in small circle. The diameter should be small, like a foot. Perform 10-15
revolutions in each direction, once a day.

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As you get comfortable, you can increase the no. of revolutions done as well as the diameter of
each swing. Never force the movements and once you start seeing the symptoms receding you
can increase the load on the arm by holding a light weight.

2. Towel Stretch

This will require a small towel, for example a three-foot towel. Hold it behind your back and
grab both the ends with each of the hands. Make sure that the towel is in horizontal position.
Now hold the towel upward to stretch it using your good arm so that the affected arm is
stretched along with up too.

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You can also do another version of the exercise, where you hold the bottom of the towel with
the affected arm and pull it towards the lower back with the good arm. You can do this 15-20
times a day and can increase the no. as you see improvements.

3. Finger Walk

The whole point of this exercise is to get in motion little tissues and muscles that connect
through the shoulder. At 3/4 th of an arm distance, facing a wall, reach out and touch the wall at
waist-level height with the fingertips of the arm which is affected. Keeping the elbow slightly
bent, slowly walk your fingers up the wall, just like how children play sometimes.

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Keep walking the fingers till you’ve raised your arm as far as you can without any pain. Do not
try to exert more pressure on yourself. Focus on the fingertips and try shifting the pressure from
the shoulder muscles to the fingers as frequently as you can.
Lower the arm and repeat this exercise around 15-20 times a day.

4. Cross-body reach

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You must have seen this exercise in action during breaks or warm-ups in sports game etc. It can
be done while sitting or standing down. Now use your unaffected arm to bring the other arm up
at the elbow. Bring it up and move it across the body, exerting a gentle pressure to stretch the
shoulder. It is recommended that you hold the position for 15-20 seconds. Doing this again, 15-
20 times a day is more than sufficient.

5. Armpit Stretch

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This aims to stretch the muscles around the armpit of the affected arm. Using the good arm (if
you really need the support), lift the affected arm onto the shelf about breast-high. Open the
armpit by bending your knees. To stretch further, deepen your knee bend slightly and then bring
it back to original position. With each movement, the muscles near the armpit stretch a little
hence increasing the flexibility. Don’t force it if you feel uncomfortable or feel pain at any point
of time.

— — — — — — — — — — — — — — –

The above exercises are stretching exercises. Now as there is improvement in the movement
and the flexibility, you can add rotator cuff strengthening exercises. Remember to do the proper
warmup exercises before you start doing the following.
‘Rotator cuff is a tough sheath of tendons and ligaments that supports the arm at the shoulder

6. Outward Rotation

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Take a rubber exercise band and hold it between your hands. Make sure that the elbows are at a
90-degree angle and at the sides. Move and rotate the lower part of the affected arm outward
to some distance like 3-4 inches and hold for some time. Repeat 10-15 times, once a day.

7. Inward Rotation

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This is just like outward rotation, the only difference being we take the help of a door. Stand
next to a closed door and hook one end of the rubber exercise band around the knob of the
door. Now using your affected arm, hold the other end of the band. Just like the previous
exercise, make sure that you are holding your elbow at a 90-degree angle. Pull the band towards
your body two or three inches and hold for 5 seconds. Repeat 10 to 15 times, once a day.

August 2017

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