Sometimes it can seem as if the whole internet is awash with miracle cures. “Buy this book and cure frozen shoulder forever” or “Buy this remedy and your frozen shoulder will be cured” etc. But the truth is there is no magic remedy for a frozen shoulder: it cannot be wiped away with a book or some kind of alternative remedy. After all, if there were, then it would be universally available and there would be no need to have any alternative.
So without a ‘magic remedy’ what can you do to help a frozen shoulder? Well, as traditional as this sounds, the first thing you need to do is to have your condition confirmed by a healthcare professional. A frozen shoulder is a condition in itself i.e. it is not a sign of arthritis or some other kind of condition, but it is always helpful to ensure that you have a proper diagnosis. However, after that there are some things that you can do to help yourself!
Ensure you undertake physiotherapy:
Again, this is not rocket science, but is extremely important. There are numerous websites available that show the exercises that you can do to help a frozen shoulder, but the difficulty with these type of exercises is that they are really not designed for the individual. You need to have a personally designed routine with exercises that are specifically for you and that the phsyio has instructed you to undertake.
Undertake exercises often:
Sadly the physio exercises need to be undertaken on a regular basis. Little and often is far more preferable than one hour a week, so try to ensure that you undertake the exercises that have been shown to you on a daily basis, or according to what your physio recommends.
Try ice packs:
People often think that applying heat to a frozen shoulder is a good idea, but in fact the reverse is true. The frozen shoulder will respond better to cold than heat. So either buy ice packs that you can use, or simply use a packet of peas (or similar). Do not apply this directly to the skin, but wrap in a towel or tea towel and apply to the area that is most painful.
A pulley system:
A small pulley system (available from a good hardware shop) will often be beneficial. It has to be installed in a ceiling, but pulling on the pulley will ensure that the shoulder becomes more flexible and that it does not remain rigid. However, it may be worth discussing this with your physiotherapist prior to purchasing a pulley.
Do not rest:
There can be a temptation to simply do nothing in the hope that rest will cure the problem. However, what you need to do is to gently increase the flexibility within the shoulder. Resting the shoulder will simply make it more ‘stuck’: it is not called ‘adhesive capsulitis’ for nothing. So it is vital that you undo the adhesive and help your shoulder regain its ability to move and as a result make sure that your pain is minimised.