Finishing up this month’s Injury of the Month on Exercises for Frozen Shoulder was eye-opening for me.
I have been doing most of what I learned when I dug into the research, but I want to highlight four things that stood out in my search for frozen shoulder exercises.
#4 – Heat Your Frozen Shoulder Before Exercise
I know when clients go to physical therapy, this is often done. But after they finish physical therapy, there is no encouragement to continue doing this, yet the research shows that it should be continued.
Leung 2008 made this comment in their research:
- Heat ends up changing the viscoelastic properties of connective tissue.
- Heat promotes vasodilation, leading to better nutrition, oxygen supply, and metabolite waste removal.
- Heat also increases pain tolerance.
The researchers used machines to create deep tissue heating, but they also commented that similar results could be reached with a hot pack on the shoulder.
TAKE HOME MESSAGE ON EXERCISES FOR FROZEN SHOULDER => Heat your frozen shoulder before doing your exercises.
#3 – Perform Pain-Free Frozen Shoulder Exercises
I always have explained this to my clients and everyone that has attended my Exercise Rehabilitation of the Shoulder course: frozen shoulder exercises should be performed in pain-free ranges of motion.
Diercks 2004 proved it. They compared aggressive and painful frozen shoulder exercises with pain-free frozen shoulder exercises. Those that did pain-free frozen shoulder exercises had better results.
I have been teaching this, but it is nice to have evidence that backs up what I say and do.
TAKE HOME MESSAGE ON FROZEN SHOULDER EXERCISES => Perform all frozen shoulder exercises in pain-free ranges of motion. Pushing into the pain leads to poor results in shoulder pain and shoulder range of motion.
#2 – Scapular Exercises for Frozen Shoulder
I have been on this bandwagon for a long time.
Scapular exercises are essential for shoulder health and shoulder injuries.
Celik 2010 showed how important they are when it comes to frozen shoulders.
When someone with a frozen shoulder is assessed, the scapula is fixed to emphasize the shoulder joint (glenohumeral). After a confirmed diagnosis, often, the exercises focus on the shoulder joint.
Celik showed the importance of specific scapular stabilization exercises to help with range of motion, shoulder pain, and frozen shoulder recovery.
In the paper, he goes through 10 scapular exercises for frozen shoulder. I have included them along with photos, descriptions, and videos of the Frozen Shoulder Solution program exercises.
TAKE HOME MESSAGE ON FROZEN SHOULDER EXERCISES => Do scapular exercises for frozen shoulder.
#1 – Chronic Conditions Increase Your Risk of Frozen Shoulder
This one, for me, was shocking.
Tighe 2008 researched how big of a problem frozen shoulder (adhesive capsulitis) was for diabetics.
People with diabetes have about a 39% chance of getting frozen shoulder, while pre-diabetic people have a 33% chance (WoW!).
The chances are good. If you have diabetes, you will get a frozen shoulder. If you have any diabetic clients, you will soon have a frozen shoulder.
One more thing. Doctors diagnosing patients with frozen shoulders perform follow-up tests to see if they have diabetes or another systemic disease.
TAKE HOME MESSAGE ON FROZEN SHOULDER EXERCISES => Those that have diabetes have an increased chance of getting frozen shoulder. Those with frozen shoulders might have something else, so have your doctor look into it.
Research on Exercises for Frozen Shoulder
Here are the references for the above; if you won’t go to the source of what I am talking about. You can buy and read all of these research articles. Also, I reviewed another 14 papers on exercises for frozen shoulder in the Frozen Shoulder Solution program:
- Bal A, Eksioglu E, Gulec B, Aydog E, Gurcay E, Cakci A. (2008). Effectiveness of corticosteroid injection in adhesive capsulitis. Clin Rehabil. 2008 Jun;22(6):503-12.
- Celik D. (2010). Comparison of the outcomes of two different exercise programs on frozen shoulder. Acta Orthop Traumatol Turc. 2010;44(4):285-92. DOI: 10.3944/AOTT.2010.2367.
- Diercks RL, Stevens M. (2004). Gentle thawing of the frozen shoulder: a prospective study of supervised neglect versus intensive physical therapy in seventy-seven patients with frozen shoulder syndrome followed up for two years. J Shoulder Elbow Surg. 2004 Sep-Oct;13(5):499-502.
- Leung MS, Cheing GL. (2008). Effects of deep and superficial heating in the management of frozen shoulder. J Rehabil Med. 2008 Feb;40(2):145-50.
- Tighe CB, Oakley WS Jr. (2008). The prevalence of a diabetic condition and adhesive capsulitis of the shoulder. South Med J. 2008 Jun;101(6):591-5.
That is it. I hope this helps you if you have a frozen shoulder or are a client with a frozen shoulder. If you would like to check out the 3-stage, 7-step exercise program that I use for frozen shoulder, you can check it out here:
Rick Kaselj, MS
P.S. – I just got this feedback from one of my other Injuries of the Month:
“The Achilles Tendinitis Exercise Program is the NO BS, 100% reliable program. I read your blogs and posts daily and one thing I really love is that I can trust what you say (meaning a confident road to recovery)!
I also appreciate that you put the program in video form with step by step instructions and thorough, concise explanations. For a non-expert such as myself, it really helps me understand the program as a whole because there is no jargon.
Not only do you describe these exercises and its purposes in the presentations, you have additional videos dedicated to these specific exercises.
The Achilles Tendinitis Exercise program is extremely comprehensible for the average exercise blog reader yet detailed enough for someone who constantly reads Rick’s and other coaches’ newsletters to learn new things. The program is very valuable.”