Vandana Belawadi is a Bangalore-based marketing executive who used to frequently suffer from a shooting pain in her shoulder. She did not realise what exactly it is until she visited her orthopedic who referred her to a good physiotherapist. She suffered from frozen shoulder (adhesive capsulitis), a condition that manifests through stiffness and severe pain shoulder joint.
“When it began, it was just a pain. I ignored it thinking that it must be a muscle pull or just fatigue due to work out. Those days my father used to be very unwell. I had to help him in moving around. As I did that, the pain aggravated and worsened over time,” she said. As described by Belawadi, the symptoms for frozen shoulder develop over three different stages. They are:
- Freezing and Painful phase: This is the beginning. You are likely to feel the pain every time you move your shoulder; slowly it will limit the movements.
- Frozen phase: This stage is characterized by the stiffness of your shoulder. While one may feel the pain is lesser, the movements get restricted to a great extent.
- Thawing phase: The pain will reduce and the movement in the shoulder will slowly increase.
While there is no particular reason that the scientists have been able to point out for someone to develop a frozen shoulder, people who lift heavy object or a baby over a period of time are prone to this condition. At Anand Physiotherapy Centre, our well-trained physiotherapists apply mobilization with movement technique to ease your pain followed by training you to do the following exercises:
- Finger-ladder exercise
- Pendulum exercise
- Outward rotation
- Inward rotation
- Shoulder blade setting
During the second phase, we advise a whole range of motion that is pain free. The strengthening movements include thera-band exercises, which are progressed with the improvement in patient condition. We also encourage the patients to incorporate the day-to-day activities like combing hairs with effected shoulder, applying soap to the body, tucking the shirt etc. to improve mobility.
In last phase, as the pain becomes less and the movement gradually improves we progress to exercises like weight bearing with dumbbells or by progressing to more resistant colour of thera-band to improve the strength of rotator cuff muscles responsible for the stability of shoulder joint.
While the symptoms of frozen shoulder can be there for 18 months to 3 years or more, we strongly advice you get yourself checked when the pain starts.