Physical Therapy is a beneficial way to help diminish pain in the soft tissues, restore weakened muscles and improve shoulder strength and mobility. The type of physical therapy and the duration will be dependent on the extent of your adhesive capsulitis.
Acupuncture, massage (Bowen technique) or chiropractic sessions have also been known to reduce pain, increase blood flow and break down scar tissue associated with adhesive capsulitis. Treatments can range anywhere from 1 – 6 weeks.
A physiotherapist can set up an individualized strengthening, endurance and stretching exercise program for you to improve the condition of your shoulder, arm and back muscles. It is important to strengthen and stretch these opposing muscle groups to add balance to your body and provide stability in your shoulder. Your program will be based on your needs and abilities, and will help to improve your range of motion (ROM) and allow you to return to performing your normal routines. Assisted exercises along with passive and gentle arm movements (letting your arm hang while gently swinging it forwards, backwards and in circular motions), as well as overhead and across body stretches will help to loosen up your shoulder joint and speed up recovery. These may include exercises with pulleys, sticks, and/or exercises bands. It is essential to do these exercises on a regular basis to prevent stiffening up.
Be wary of using a sling and/or shoulder brace too frequently as this may prevent necessary movement in your shoulder. Often in our pursuit to protect our injury, we can make our situations worse. It is helpful to limit painful movements, but remember to perform at least gentle movements around your shoulder to keep circulation and blood flowing.
Mobility aids such as long shoe horns, front fastening bras, and/or anything that helps to prevent you from over-reaching or reaching behind your back may be helpful in your recovery.