Frozen shoulder, as the name implies, is a painful condition in which the shoulder joint becomes “frozen”, making the smallest movement almost impossible. It can result from overuse in persons over 50, but can also occur following a stroke, some accidents and other conditions. A frozen shoulder can linger from few months to as much as 3 years, and the exact cause is unknown. Physiotherapy is always ordered to treat this condition, however it has been found that posture plays a significant role in recovery.
The pivotal goal is to get the joint moving again. The sooner this is done, the quicker the chances of recovery. Anti-inflammatory drugs, heat application and gentle stretching exercises are performed with the help of a physiotherapist or occupational therapist. But before exercise can begin, it is important to look at your posture. If your shoulders are rounded, it will be impossible to effectively elevate the shoulder, and trying to do so can actually increase your pain. If this is the case, we will help you roll your shoulders back, in order to achieve the maximum stretch.
Some people have a rounded upper spine called kyphosis. This too, will limit your achievable shoulder range of motion, and may contribute to pain. You can eliminate the “hump” by stretching your back daily. You do this by placing a rolled towel just at the base of the hump while sitting in a chair and leaning backwards until you feel a mild to moderate stretch. Hold for 30 seconds, relax and repeat. This should be done several times a day. You should not feel pain with this exercise, and if you do, stop immediately.
Overall, good posture is important to your well being, whether you suffer from frozen shoulder or not. But if you do suffer from this condition, it is crucial that you follow your physiotherapist’s advice on the way you sit, stand and walk. In these positions, your ears should line up with your shoulders and hips. Look at yourself sideways in the mirror, or have a friend tell you if you are stooping. Then straighten up and do your exercises. Your shoulder will thank you.