I recently experienced the worst right sided shoulder pain ever. It literrally stopped my life for two days. They call it frozen shoulder syndrome. There is major pain and loss of range of motion in the shoulder. I could not move my arm, up or down and abduct my arm and shoulder (move it away from my body side to side). Even my right arm was aching.
I was in a lot of agony. I don’t take pain well at all, so for me this was excruciating. This happened on Friday night. Friday night: lots of pain, Saturday: Lots of Pain Sunday - Pain was gone, I was able to move my right shoulder - my shoulder was back.
I normally never take pain medication, but I had to Friday and Saturday. It sufficiently numbed the pain and helped me do my activities of daily living. But I had to stay in the house. No relaxing, no going out. Driving and even using the computer was too difficult and painful.
So what did I do at home? Here are 3 things that I concentrated on:
1. Muscle Work
2. Hot and Cold Treatment
3. Exercise and Movement of the Shoulder
The key to combating a frozen shoulder is movement. You must move. Slowly at first. You must push yourself a little. Start slow and keep building up.
The location of the major pain was at the right deltoid muscle. Specifically the tuberosity of the deltoid muscle. This is a muscle insertion point and this point felt like it was on fire.
Here are the muscles that are often involved in a frozen shoulder (#1-4 make up the rotator cuff muscles).
- Teres Minor
- Latissimus Dorsi
- Rhomboid Minor and Major
My husband had to help me with the muscle work. He used a pain relief cream on my entire shoulder and upper arm area. He also did muscle work (stripped the muscles), massage, and trigger point therapy. By that I mean, he dug into the muscle and made me scream with pain. Literally. My 2 year old and 6 year old thought that this was the funniest thing ever. He did this muscle work once on Friday night, two times on Saturday (am and pm). After each muscle work session, I did use a cold therapy pack on top of the my shoulder and I walked around around with that ice pack. When I was able to relax and sit down I used a heating pack.
On Saturday, starting at 4 am (The pain did not allow me to sleep well or get into a comfortable position), I started exercising. Exercising, moving, putting movement into the shoulder joint, stretching - whatever I could do, I did it and it was so painful. Words cannot describe the pain. The key with frozen shoulder or adhesive capsulitis as they also call it, is that you have keep putting motion into the area. I made an observation that every time I would rest, the shoulder stiffened up.
Check out this video below for effective exercises for frozen shoulder. You must do everything gently and don't go over your pain threshold. As you keep doing these exercises you will start to notice (ever so slowly) that your range of motion is starting to increase. It will help to break up scar tissue and break up the adhesions in your shoulder. Do all exercises for 30 seconds to 1 minute and move on to the next exercise:
As you go throughout the day, engage your shoulder muscles. For example, even lifting up my elbow was difficult. As I was sitting watching tv, I used my other hand to help to lift my right arm up onto the sofa arm rest. I let it sit there for a few minutes, then brought it down and did it again.
With the combination of hot and cold therapy, muscle work and exercising my shoulder, I woke up on Sunday doing better than I was on Friday and Saturday. I did my exercises again early Sunday morning. Literally, I was 95% back- I was able to do all of my activities of daily living and the best thing of all, my pain was minimal. At 10 am I even swam laps in the pool.
As a result of this incident, I really realized how we take our posture for granted. Forward head posture can really contribute to putting stress on your shoulder and back muscles. I am on the computer constantly - on my laptop, ipads and iphones. Regular stretching, exercising and watching my posture are key things I have to do going forward to prevent this from happening again.
I would strongly recommend seeing a chiropractor when you have a shoulder condition like this. You can get over the pain faster, and the Dr can pinpoint where your problem area is. They can also help you go through the shoulder range of motion and do trigger point therapy which helps tremendously.
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