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Frozen Shoulder

The rotator cuff is a group of four muscles and tendons that surround and support the shoulder joint, allowing for a range of motion and stability. A rotator cuff tear is an injury that occurs when one or more of the tendons in the rotator cuff of the shoulder become damaged or torn. It’s a common injury among athletes, manual laborers, and older adults.

typical causes:

Frozen shoulder can be triggered by a variety of factors. Often, it develops when the shoulder is immobilized for a prolonged period due to surgery, injury, or illness. This lack of use leads to the thickening and tightening of the shoulder capsule, limiting joint mobility. Certain medical conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease, and Parkinson’s disease, can also increase the risk of developing a frozen shoulder. Furthermore, this condition tends to occur more frequently in women and individuals over the age of 40. Despite these potential causes, the precise reason why some people develop frozen shoulder remains unclear.

how physical therapy can help:

Physical therapy plays a critical role in the treatment of a frozen shoulder. The primary objective is to restore mobility and alleviate pain. A physical therapist will develop an individualized program involving specific exercises aimed at stretching and improving the mobility of the tightened shoulder joint. Methods such as long duration stretches  and joint mobilizations are utilized to enhance range of motion. Recovery time for a frozen shoulder varies with most cases taking 6 months to 2 years. Physical therapy aims to accelerate this recovery time as possible, reduce shoulder pain, and maximize function of the shoulder. The key to a successful recovery lies in a patient’s consistent engagement and patience throughout the duration of therapy.

Ready to get moving? Contact us today to schedule an assessment.

exercises that may help reduce pain:

If you experience more pain with these exercises, hold off from that particular movement. 

The Sleeper StretchThe Sleeper Stretch is an effective exercise for shoulder mobility, performed by lying on one’s side and gently pushing the forearm down towards the floor. Depending on comfort, it’s held for 1-3 minutes and repeated 2-3 times daily.

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Shoulder 90/90 ER stretch at a doorway To perform this stretch, stand in a doorway and bend your elbow at a 90-degree angle. Place your forearm against the door frame and slowly turn your body away until you feel a gentle stretch. The hold depends on your comfort level, typically ranging from 1-3 minutes, and it is suggested to be performed 2-3 times daily for optimal results. This exercise, when done consistently, can significantly improve shoulder flexibility and range of motion.

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Shoulder Flexion Stretch at Doorway – To perform this stretch, stand in a doorway with your arm raised straight above you. Place your hand or forearm against the door frame, with your fingers pointing upwards. Lean forward slightly until you feel a gentle stretch in your shoulder. The hold duration for this stretch should be tailored to your comfort level, typically ranging from 1-3 minutes. It is recommended to perform this stretch 2-3 times a day for the most effective results.
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