When someone is diagnosed with frozen shoulder, it is essential that he or she start doing the proper frozen shoulder exercises immediately to prevent the shoulder from getting worse. The key is to perform a well rounded program that includes four types of exercises - stretching, strengthening, and range of motion exercises as well as targeted soft-tissue work.
Combining these kinds of exercise in a well thought out program will allow all of the important areas of the shoulder complex (which includes your shoulder muscles and the actual joint) to start working and functioning normally again. It is never enough to do only stretching as many programs have you do. While stretching is essential, without adding strength work, range of motion and soft-tissue work, the chances of "curing" the frozen shoulder are minimal.
A well thought out rehab program includes strengthening of all of the muscles both in and around the shoulder joint to help it move normally and regain proper movement. Light weights, resistance bands, and tubing, as well as your own body weight can be used for this kind of strengthening. Many people and therapists leave out targeted strengthening that is very important to get the entire shoulder joint and surrounding areas to move properly again and also have the basic strength to protect the joint from further pain and injury.
Teaching the shoulder complex to move again in all normal ranges of motion is also very important. The shoulder joint moves freely in many directions. It is essential to get all of those movements back to normal when rehabbing a frozen shoulder. Most people do not realize that each movement that the shoulder joint is able to do, indirectly influences the other motions. Therefore, it is essential that the patient is able to move the shoulder joint in all areas to the best of his or her ability. Many traditional therapy programs focus on a few “core” motions, and while these motions are important, they are not the only motions that someone with a frozen shoulder needs to work on getting back. It is just as important to work the other motions as well. Even if the patient has lost only one or two motions, working on all of the available mobility is very important.
Stretching in all directions and with all muscles in and around the shoulder joint is also key. A good frozen shoulder exercise program will include a multitude of stretches in all directions. Stretching involves the elongation of the muscle and tendons. The shoulder complex has many muscles that not only directly surround the actual joint, but also muscles that are connected to the entire area. It is important that all of these muscles are stretched. Proper muscle and tendon “health” will not be achieved without a proper stretching program. Like the range of motion exercises, stretching needs to be done to all of the muscles and muscle tendons, in all directions to achieve true success in getting rid of a frozen shoulder. It is also very important not to over stretch the muscles and other soft tissue in the beginning. Following a proper, progressive therapy program is key in making sure that this doesn’t happen.
Targeted soft tissue work is essentially a deep massage that you can do yourself; what I call poor man's massage. Working on the soft-tissue (i.e. muscles, tendons, connective tissue, skin, etc...) that surrounds the shoulder joint is vital. Whether it is in the form of a deep tissue massage, self myofascial release, or active release therapy of the tissue, keeping the soft tissue healthy and working properly is another key to improving your frozen shoulder. Good targeted soft-tissue work is also important in getting rid of tightness and pain that is associated with frozen shoulder. Many people benefit from targeted soft-tissue work early on just to deal effectively with pain and this allows greater movement and faster improvement in symptoms.
Successful rehab for frozen shoulder can be done in the comfort of your own home just 3 days a week if you are following a program that incorporates these 4 key components - increasing shoulder strength, flexibility, range of motion, and while decreasing knots and muscle hot spots.
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Looking for the best frozen shoulder treatment option? There are 7 main ways that you can go about treating your frozen shoulder.
Doing nothing is actually a common approach. Just sit around and wait for your shoulder to get better. Unfortunately, this can take up to 2 years (if ever)! Not many people are ready to wait 2 years for their shoulder pain to go away.
This is primarily through the use of anti-inflammatory drugs like aspirin or advil. While the use of anti-inflammatory drugs can play a role in the treatment of frozen shoulder, it should not be the only thing that you use because it really is just putting a 'band-aid' on the problem and not actually helping your frozen shoulder get better.
Often times people rush into surgery without looking into other options, like an exercise rehab program. Chances are...you don't need surgery. Surgery for frozen shoulder (or any kind of surgery) has risks. I always tell my clients that if they have surgery they are going to need to do rehab post surgery, so why not just try a rehab exercise program first (as it will most likely fix the problem) - right?
This is another very common treatment for frozen shoulder. There are A LOT of very good physical therapist out there. But the problem is (as with most professions), there are a lot of very bad physical therapists out there as well. Unless you have a superior physical therapist, then the program you will receive to help your frozen shoulder is going to be outdated. You can tell if it is out dated as it will only provide you with some stretching or strengthening exercises (see 4 Pronged approach for what you need more than just that). Physical therapy can also be costly (especially if your insurance refuses to continue to cover your visits halfway through your treatment). Traveling to physical therapy appointments multiple times a week can also be hard for people to fit into their busy schedules.
This is a common 'non traditional' approach to treating frozen shoulder. Massage, like the use of pain killers, is good but not as the only treatment option. Massage works to relieve frozen shoulder pain by breaking up the knots and muscle 'adhesions' that can be preventing you from moving your shoulder. Unfortunately, at $60 or more an hour, massage treatments for your frozen shoulder can get expensive fast. One major cause of frozen shoulder is muscle weakness and massage does nothing for that. The good news is that you can use what I call 'poor man's massage' techniques in the comfort of your own home with great pain relieving success. I show you one of my best ones on the next page (you also get a couple more as part of your complimentary Pain Free Living membership).
Stretching is a very popular approach as it seems to make sense - "Can't move your shoulder?" "You should stretch it." Unfortunately it isn't that simple. Excessive stretching can cause more pain and actually make your frozen shoulder worse. Just stretching doesn't address the knots and hot spots in you shoulder muscles that are contributing to the 'freezing'. Stretching also does not help strengthen your shoulder muscles (on of the primary causes of frozen shoulder is weak shoulder muscles).
The '4 Pronged Approach' is a combination of stretching, targeted soft tissue work (a.k.a. poor man's massage), strengthening, and mobility exercises that provide you a frozen shoulder treatment plan which addresses all the problem areas of frozen shoulder. The best part is that you can do it yourself in the comfort of your own home.
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