Frozen shoulder, also known as adhesive capsulitis, is a distressing condition that can cause you to lose your ability to move one or both of your arms, caused by the tissues around your shoulder joint contracting and freezing around it. Thankfully, a frozen shoulder is typically not permanent, but it can take years to get better and be both painful and debilitating in the meantime. You can, however, manage your frozen shoulder and speed up this healing process by attending regular sessions with your local physical therapist.
Managing Shoulder Pain
When your shoulder is being held in place by your own muscles and ligaments, any attempt to move your arm can be excruciating. But you still need to go about your day, which means you will need to manage this pain as much as possible in order to function. Your physical therapist may be able to help with this through regular massage and heat therapy, which should temporarily take some of the tension out of your shoulder and reduce your discomfort.
Improving Your Range of Motion
Besides managing your comfort levels, your therapist will also walk you through specific stretches and strengthening exercises meant to improve your arm's range of motion and encourage your tissues to relax. These often involve rotating and flexing your arms, as well as practicing everyday tasks. It may hurt initially, but as you recover from the condition, it should get easier and easier.
Preventing the Condition's Spread
In many cases, frozen shoulder in one arm will likely be followed by the same problem in the other. This can quickly turn a frustrating inconvenience into an actual disability, which is why it is so important to continue attending physical therapy sessions. By working with your therapist to recognize the early signs of a freezing shoulder, you can work to counteract the condition and halt its spread through the same stretches and exercises used for your other arm.
Combining Physical Therapy With Medication
Sometimes, physical therapy alone is not enough to quickly bring your frozen shoulder under control. In these situations, you may also need to seek a prescription for your pain or even undergo surgical correction on your shoulder. Either way, physical therapy can still help you get back to your normal functioning levels sooner, as well as provide both the physical and emotional support you need during this difficult time. If you have been struggling to live with frozen shoulder on your own for too long and would like to seek professional help, call your local physical therapist's office today to get started.