Frozen shoulder (adhesive capsulitis), causes stiffness and pain in the shoulder. It may start slowly, and then worsen over time. The issue will usually resolve over a period of a year or two.
You are at a much higher risk of developing frozen shoulder when your arm or shoulder is immobilized, often due to an injury, stroke or mastectomy. A good physical therapist can teach you exercises to help treat a stiff or frozen shoulder and greatly improve the range of motion.
The Sleeper Stretch
The sleeper stretch is great to help alleviate a stiff or frozen shoulder because it helps to increase the range of motion of the joint. It is also effective for treating any kind of internal rotation problem. If you can’t reach behind your back to fasten a button or zip a zipper, this exercise is for you!
To perform the stretch:
- Lay down on the side that is affected.
- Position the arm in an almost 90 degree angle to the body
- Place the opposing hand on the wrist on the affected arm/shoulder
- Gently guide the arm in a downward rotation, bringing the flattened pam of the hand of the affected arm/shoulder parallel with the surface you are lying on.
When done correctly, you will feel a stretch in the back of your arm and top of your shoulder. You will want to perform this stretch several times and hold the position for 30 to 45 second each time. This should help provide relief for a stiff or frozen shoulder.