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How Physical Therapy Helps Frozen Shoulder

How Physical Therapy Helps Frozen Shoulder

By: Christina Reeh, PTA

Glen Burnie Location

Understanding Frozen Shoulder
Frozen shoulder, also known as adhesive capsulitis, is a condition characterized by stiffness, pain, and reduced mobility in the shoulder joint. It can be caused by various factors like injury, inflammation, or prolonged immobility. Frozen shoulder typically progresses through three stages: freezing, frozen, and thawing. While the freezing and frozen stages can be challenging, physical therapy becomes particularly beneficial during the thawing stage.
The Role of Physical Therapy
Stretching and Range of Motion Exercises: One of the primary goals of physical therapy for a frozen shoulder is to restore the shoulder's range of motion. Therapists will guide you through gentle stretching exercises to gradually increase flexibility and combat stiffness. These exercises target the shoulder joint and surrounding muscles, helping to improve mobility over time.
Strengthening Exercises: As your range of motion improves, physical therapists will introduce strengthening exercises to enhance the stability and support of the shoulder joint. These exercises focus on the rotator cuff muscles and other muscles surrounding the shoulder. Strengthening these muscles is crucial in preventing future injuries and maintaining a healthy shoulder.
Manual Therapy Techniques: Physical therapists may also employ manual therapy techniques to address the specific limitations of a frozen shoulder. This may include joint mobilization, soft tissue massage, or manual stretching to help break up scar tissue and adhesions, ultimately improving mobility and reducing pain.
Patient Education and Home Exercise Program: Physical therapists play a vital role in educating patients about frozen shoulder, its progression, and self-care techniques. They will provide you with a personalized home exercise program to continue your progress outside of therapy sessions. Consistency and dedication to these exercises are key to achieving optimal results.
A frozen shoulder can be a challenging condition to navigate, but with the help of physical therapy, you can regain control and restore function to your shoulder joint. Through a combination of stretching, strengthening exercises, manual therapy, and patient education, physical therapists are instrumental in thawing the ice and helping you reclaim your mobility. If you're experiencing symptoms of a frozen shoulder, consult a physical therapist who can guide you on your path to recovery.
Remember, each individual's journey is unique, and it's important to consult with a healthcare professional to receive a proper diagnosis and personalized treatment plan. 

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