What is the most effective treatment for frozen shoulder?
Gentle, natural movement has been shown to be the most effective treatment for frozen shoulder. A study of 77 patients with frozen shoulder compared the efficacy of intensive stretching and physical therapy to “supervised neglect,” defined as supportive therapy and exercises performed within a comfortable range of motion. Twenty-four months after the start of treatment, the supervised neglect group had regained 89% of their shoulder function, while the group receiving intensive stretching and physical therapy had only regained 63% of their shoulder function.
Another interesting study showed the role of chronic, involuntary muscle tension in frozen shoulder. Five patients who had been diagnosed with frozen shoulder underwent capsular release surgery to alleviate the contracture of their glenohumeral joint capsule. The patients’ range of motion was measured before and after being put under general anaesthesia. All five patients had significantly more range of motion of their shoulder joint when they were under anaesthesia; the increases in mobility ranged from 44˚ all the way up to 110˚. The researchers concluded that capsular contracture alone could not explain these patients’ loss of mobility, and that muscle stiffness or muscle guarding appears to be a major contributing factor to reduced range of motion in FS patients.
When we are in pain, we instinctively tighten up the muscles surrounding the painful area in order to limit movement and prevent further pain. So the presence of chronic muscle tightness in patients with frozen shoulder is not surprising; however, the substantial degree to which muscle tension limited these patients’ range of motion is significant. This finding, combined with the study showing the efficacy of supportive therapy and gentle exercises, points to Clinical Somatics exercises as being an ideal way to treat frozen shoulder. Moreover, since we know that the technique of pandiculation is the most effective way to release chronic, involuntary muscle contraction, Clinical Somatics could potentially allow patients to recover more quickly than with traditional methods.
If you have frozen shoulder and you want to use Clinical Somatics exercises to release your chronic muscle tension and improve your shoulder mobility, I recommend doing the online Level One & Two Courses. Below are the exercises from each course that will be most effective for you.
LEVEL ONE COURSE
Arch & Curl
One-sided Arch & Curl
Diagonal Arch & Curl
Carpal Tunnel Exercises
Flowering Arch & Curl
LEVEL TWO COURSE
Scapula Scoops Part 1
Scapula Scoops Part 2
Proprioceptive Exercise 2
Proprioceptive Exercise 3
Shoulder, Elbow & Wrist Releases
Proprioceptive Exercise 4