Frozen Shoulder or Adhesive Capsulitis
This is a condition that causes pain and stiffness and is theoretically caused by inflammation of the glenohumeral capsule surrounding the shoulder joint. The most characteristic feature of this condition is a significant or complete loss of external rotation (outward arm movement). The cause of this condition is unknown however, there are certain risk factors which have been known to contribute:
• Females aged 40 and over
• Heart disease
• Thyroid dysfunction (hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism)
• Trauma (trips, falls, history of fracture, car accidents even where there has been no direct impact onto the shoulder).
There are three main phases of frozen shoulder:
1) Freezing: A reduction in arm movement and pain occur.
Lasts 2-9 months.
2) Frozen: Increasing stiffness with no changes to level of pain and in some cases reduction of pain.
Lasts 4-12 months.
3) Thawing: An increase in shoulder mobility and reduction in pain.
Lasts 4-12 months.
• Use the shoulder joint as much as possible within a pain-free to uncomfortable range to maintain as much function of the all the muscles that make up the shoulder complex.
• Basic exercise using a theraband if you have one to hand. Tie to a door handle and use the resistance of the band to stretch and strengthen muscles by moving gently into ranges that you find difficult or painful.
• Seated rotation exercise to maintain function of your spine is very much integral to shoulder mobility. Sitting down twisting from left to right very slowly and holding each full rotation to get a good stretch into the back.
• Shoulder rolls forwards and backwards 10 times each way.
• Ear to shoulder stretch and hold for 30 seconds each side to reduce tension built up in the neck as a result of increased demand of these muscles due to compensatory movements from the shoulder.
Arthritis of the Shoulder
There is damage to the articular surface of the joint (glenohumeral and acromioclavicular joints primarily) due to wear and tear causing cartilage to wear away causing friction and pain between bones during movement. This often occurs in people aged over 50. In most cases this causes the body to lay down extra bone called osteophytes at the site of damage however, they do not lay down appropriately and cause spurring leading to further pinching of structures and stiffness.
• Warm pack or microwave wheat/ lavender bags on the shoulder and keep on as long as needed. Ensure it is not too hot but warm and therapeutic to keep on for a long period of time and avoiding skin burns.
• If you have a bathtub a warm bath with a generous handful of sea salt or magnesium salt that can be found in any health food store.
• Holding a lightweight or household item in your hand (milk gallon, can of soup etc) and swing your arm in circular motions to relieve pressure off the shoulder.