This Weekend Challenge is a range-of-motion exercise that is instrumental in preventing and reversing “frozen shoulder,” a painful condition that can significantly impede your ability to exercise and perform everyday tasks.
By increasing shoulder mobility and working muscles that pull the shoulder blades back, the Frozen Shoulder Preventer And Reverser also improves overall posture, opens the chest, and expands the rib cage.
Let’s get to it!
If you’ve ever suffered from a frozen shoulder, then you understand how frustrating and painful it can be. Formally known as adhesive capsulitis, frozen shoulder begins in the connective tissue of the joint. This tissue is encapsulated by more connective tissue, and when this capsule thickens and becomes tight, the joint stiffens and movement is painful and difficult.
The causes of frozen shoulder vary with each individual, with injury or surgery followed by an extended period of immobility being significant causal factors. Frozen shoulder may also occur in individuals with diabetes and the compromised circulation that often accompanies it.
Age and gender play a role, too – people over the age of 40 are at a higher risk for developing frozen shoulder than younger individuals, and women develop the condition more often than men.
Conventional treatment for frozen shoulder often involves corticosteroid injections into the shoulder joint, which ultimately compromises the joint’s integrity and health. Usually, range-of-motion exercises like this Weekend Challenge are also indicated in treatment. At the Save Institute, we never take the “drug route,” but always recommend drug-free options like targeted exercise instead. That’s what the Weekend Challenges are all about!
How Do You Know It’s A Frozen Shoulder?
It’s best if your health practitioner examines you to get an accurate diagnosis, but here are some key symptoms that can indicate a frozen shoulder. Generally, there are three stages: in stage 1, known as ‘Freezing,’ the shoulder is in the process of “freezing up,” and you’ll experience pain when you move your shoulder certain ways. You’ll also notice that you can’t move your shoulder as far or as well as before.
In stage 2, also known as the ‘Frozen stage,’ your shoulder may actually experience less pain, but much more limited movement. You’ll find it difficult to move your shoulder at all.
Stage 3 is called the “Thawing stage,” when the pain and stiffness begin to ease, and you can move your shoulder more easily. Mobility increases with time, with movement becoming easier even daily.
If you’re facing surgery anywhere in your upper body that requires your shoulder and arm to be kept still for a long time after (such as a mastectomy, rotator cuff repair, etc.), then the following exercise can help prevent a frozen shoulder during your recovery. Also, if you’re experiencing a medical condition that prevents you from moving your one or both of your shoulders, such as recovering from a stroke or a broken bone, then (with your doctor’s approval) this Weekend Challenge can help prevent your shoulder from freezing.
And finally, if you already have a frozen shoulder and need to increase mobility, the following move can help reverse the condition (once again, we recommend that you proceed with your doctor’s approval).
Remember, this exercise also flattens your upper back and brings your shoulder blades back, improving posture, and it opens your rib cage and chest to improve breathing.
Here’s how to do it.
You’ll be going to the floor for this exercise, so grab a mat or something similar to make this more comfortable.
- Lie on your back on the floor, legs bent and feet flat on the floor.
- Raise your arms straight up, perpendicular to your chest, and place your hands flat together.
- Slowly move your arms up over your head, touching your thumbs to the floor over your head. Keep your elbows straight.
- Bring your arms back to the straight up position in step 2. Repeat step 3. Make sure your abdominal muscles and core muscles are engaged to keep your back flat on the floor. Don’t arch your back.
- Repeat steps 2 and 3 ten to fifteen times, or as many times as you comfortably can.
We recommend following up with these other Weekend Challenges:
Shoulders can often get neglected in typical workouts. But a well-rounded exercise program is just as essential as a pH-balanced diet in reversing bone loss. Every bone and joint counts! And for Savers, moves that target the shoulders are vital. After all, proper shoulder positioning not only staves off and eases conditions like frozen shoulder, but also prevents a hunched upper back and other postural issues.
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Have a great weekend!