Frozen shoulder treatment exercises consist of specific rotational movements and stretching to strengthen the rotator cuff and help get rid of the adhesions, the root cause of this disorder. A Frozen Shoulder is medically known as Adhesive Capsulitis in reference to the adhesions of the capsule membrane protecting the rotator cuff, thickened and coarse scarred tissues that physically block arm movements by interfering with the natural shoulder joint mechanics.
Initially, the freezing phase of an Adhesive Capsulitis shows up with the typical symptom to most shoulder disorders: a subtle pain growing into a dull ache with time, particularly at night. However, movement is still possible at this stage, which can last about 6 to 8 weeks. As the disorder progresses, it enters the frozen phase, which can last 1 year and is the most disabling because, while pain subsides, arm movements are severely limited, especially over head, affecting all daily activities and quality of life.
Finally, the disease naturally resolves with a thawing phase which can last also 1 more year. During this time the adhesions naturally loosen up and movement is very slowly recovered, but all together it can be 2 years or more before a Frozen Shoulder has resolved. Normal treatments usually include anti inflammatories, cortisone injections, ultrasounds, hot packs, manipulation and specific frozen shoulder exercises.
It is only the latter that can offer an effective and quick rehabilitation, cutting down recovery times. Drugs and injections are effective at reducing pain and inflammation only temporarily, but they do nothing to tackle the adhesions or to strengthen the rotator cuff, the root cause of the problem. In addition, they lead to a costly dependency, have side effects and are ineffective at cutting recovery times.
Ultrasounds and hot packs are harmless by comparison, they do not have any side effect but are only mildly effective at best and require multiple applications or surgery appointments. Not a very practical solution. On the contrary, manipulation can be effective, though not always, and must be followed by a rehabilitative program soon after. Manipulation is the physical breaking of the adhesions by the surgeon moving the patient arm under general anesthesia, a drastic solution that can be avoided most times.
However, a professionally designed program of frozen shoulder exercises can significantly cut down recovery times by naturally helping the loosening of the adhesions and by strengthening the cuff. This is achieved with the implementation of stretching to be performed daily at home, as consistency is paramount for success. No equipment or resistance is necessary for these exercises that are targeted at recovering full range of motion.
They have nothing to do with gym shoulder exercises and must be designed by a qualified therapist with knowledge of the shoulder mechanics and disorders, not self devised by taking samples here and there, because such a short cut could do more damage than the one is meant to cure.