Is stretching even good for a frozen shoulder?
When experiencing frozen shoulder, most people are looking for exercises that will release the pain and give some immediate relief. There are a number of exercises out there, the armpit stretch for frozen shoulder, the frozen shoulder towel stretch, passive stretching exercises for frozen shoulder and the frozen shoulder doorway stretch... to name a few!
The problem with all of these exercises and stretches is they miss the root cause... the accumulation of dense unhealthy fascia in your body - particularly in your shoulder! Furthermore, when you have a painful injury - like frozen shoulder - it's really easy to injure yourself further with traditional stretching and exercises. Perhaps you have experienced this... the workout routines that you used to love to do to stay in shape are now aggravating chronic injuries and you find you can do less and less of them. This happens to a lot of people. But it doesn't have to be that way. There is an exercise method that removes pain and injuries, builds strength and improves posture. All in one!
What exactly is frozen shoulder?
According to the Mayo Clinic:
"Frozen shoulder, also known as adhesive capsulitis, is a condition characterized by stiffness and pain in your shoulder joint."
"Frozen shoulder typically develops slowly, and in three stages. Each stage can last a number of months.
- Freezing stage. Any movement of your shoulder causes pain, and your shoulder's range of motion starts to become limited.
- Frozen stage. Pain may begin to diminish during this stage. However, your shoulder becomes stiffer, and using it becomes more difficult.
- Thawing stage. The range of motion in your shoulder begins to improve."
What causes Frozen Shoulder and what are the most common treatments?
Again according to the Mayo Clinic:
"The bones, ligaments and tendons that make up your shoulder joint are encased in a capsule of connective tissue. Frozen shoulder occurs when this capsule thickens and tightens around the shoulder joint, restricting its movement.
Doctors aren't sure why this happens to some people, although it's more likely to occur in people who have diabetes or those who recently had to immobilize their shoulder for a long period, such as after surgery or an arm fracture."
"Your risk of developing frozen shoulder increases if you're recovering from a medical condition or procedure that prevents you from moving your arm — such as a stroke or a mastectomy."
"People 40 and older, particularly women, are more likely to have frozen shoulder."
The most common treatments include:
"Range-of-motion exercises and, sometimes, corticosteroids and numbing medications injected into the joint capsule. In a small percentage of cases, arthroscopic surgery may be indicated to loosen the joint capsule so that it can move more freely."
What's the best treatment for frozen shoulder?
So we know that the tissue at the root of frozen shoulder is the connective tissue surrounding the shoulder joint. It gets stiff and hard. This is essentially unhealthy fascia. At Bendable Body - fascia is our focus!
Many people go for physical therapy to try and gain back movement in the shoulder joint through gentle concentric exercises (strength training exercises). At Bendable Body we know that the movement of a muscle and joint is dependent upon the surrounding fascia and if you don't address that you can make very little progress with concentric movements or movements that only aim for range of motion. There's more to the story!
The idea that your muscles and joints move independently is false. They move in and through fascia. The connective tissue surrounding the shoulder joint is fascia and determines the movement at the shoulder joint, as does the connective tissue (fascia) surrounding and penetrating the major muscles that attach to the shoulder joint.
Your best bet for alleviating frozen shoulder is to stretch the primary muscles that attach to and regulate movement at the shoulder joint - with resistance like we teach at Bendable Body - so that you can get those muscles working better and free up your shoulder!
These muscles include the Traps, Lats, Pecs, Deltoids and Triceps.