Alternative Therapies and Stretching for Frozen Shoulder (Adhesive Capsulitis)
If your doctor has set out a path of treatment for recovering from your frozen shoulder, remember it is a slow process and you need to give treatment time to work. Even with stretching your shoulder daily and applying the conservative therapies (cold compression therapy and blood flow stimulation therapy BFST®), it still may take months to retsore normal shoulder movements.
Your aggressiveness of your rehabilitation efforts to overcome frozen shoulder and your injuries ability to heal will depend on a variety of factors including (but not limited to):
- your age, overall health and activity level
- the state of your injury (acute that required surgery or did it just happen with no clear reason).
- suffering from a secondary condition such as Diabetes, Hypothyroidism or Hyperthyroidism
Don't be discouraged, your hard work by sticking to your 'path of treatment' will pay off and you will get your life back! Start out slow, and do not push yourself too much at first. Let your pain be your guide. If an exercise hurts too much, modify it or stop doing it. It is important to stretch your whole shoulder, 5 times a day, holding each stretch for at least 30 seconds. You should feel your shoulder stretching. If stretching does not cause you pain that lasts at least 5 minutes, then you have not stretched hard enough. If stretching causes pain that last longer than 15 minutes you have stretched to hard.
When is the time to start frozen shoulder exercises or stretches?
Stage 1 - Freezing; you will slowly have more and more pain. As the pain worsens, you lose more use of your arm and shoulder. Freezing typically lasts from 6 weeks to 9 months. You will be in a lot of pain and your doctor will suggest cold compression or medication to control your pain levels. NO aggressive exercises or physical therapy, just daily use of the shoulder to keep it from completely losing range of motion. Doing too much at this point can lead to more damage and a more difficult time completely recovering from frozen shoulder.
Be wary of using a sling and/or shoulder brace too frequently in Stage 1 frozen shoulder. As this may prevent necessary movement in your shoulder, used 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.
Stage 2 - Frozen; During the 4 to 6 months of the "frozen" stage, daily activities may be very difficult. Your pain levels will have reduce quite a bit since stage 1, but the stiffness remains. This will be the time you become more active with starting physical therapy or at home exercises. Your shoulder will still be stiff and in pain but less pain than before. You will be working hard to breaking up the scar tissue that has formed inside the joint capsule, the goal is to regain as much motion as possible.
Stage 3 - Thawing; Shoulder motion slowly improves during the "thawing" stage. Complete return to normal or close to normal strength and motion typically takes from 6 months to 2 years. Your home stretching exercises and/or physical therapy will be more aggressive and you can tolerate more movement of your shoulder. At this point of your recovery stretching is very important to continue breaking up the scar tissue so your body can rebuild with healthy tissue. You will ultimately be working to regain 100% function of your shoulder.
No matter who you are or your reasons, if you want to properly deal with your frozen shoulder injury and minimize the negative impact it will have on your life, you need to speak with your doctor about adding to your treatment with AidMyFrozenShoulder's system using a cold compression Shoulder ColdCure Wrap® and a Blood Flow Stimulation Therapy™ Side Shoulder BFST Wrap®. We have many happy customers that enhance healing and fully recovering from frozen shoulder faster than they expected and significantly reduced their pain during treatment and exercises.
Understanding how Frozen Shoulder Stretching can help
you get back your life!
When you first suffered the shoulder injury or stiffness first happened you may have had a hard time moving your arm and/or shoulder. Maybe you had to crawl out of bed with limited use of your arm and
head to the medicine cabinet to reach for some pain killers. This is the first sign is the 'pain', inflammation causes pain, this increase of blood flow into the joint is healing at its finest. Even while you were sleeping your body had started healing the damage to the tissue!
As the process continues your body will fill in tears in your tendons and ligaments in the shoulder with dense, brittle tissue called "scar tissue". The human body will use scar tissue as a temporary solution and will try to build the scar tissue as fast as possible to heal a tears in the soft tissue. Scar tissue can form fast to bring together the edges of a tear(s), but working fast doesn't mean that the job's done right. When scar tissue forms it doesn't come together as neatly as regular (healthy) tendon/ligament tissue would. Scar tissue fibers will lay down over top of your tear in a cluttered, messy and jumbled up way.
Imagine throwing a bunch of drinking straws in the air... When those straws hit the ground they will land in a random, unorganized way. It even seems silly to think that those straws could land perfectly straight and all in the same direction.
This is how scar tissue works. The scar tissue that forms in your shoulder issue will be unorganized and won't line up properly with the healthy tissue surrounding the tear. This scar tissue will also attach to everything in and around your shoulder injury including the surrounding healthy tissue as well. This can result in a long-term fusing together of your tendon that stiffens your shoulder reducing your mobility and making your injury even more painful!
Now this is where stretching your shoulder to recover from 'frozen' shoulder is key. Your hard work will help that tissue line-up in an organized way in your shoulder as it is healing. Once you start doing this you will regain more range of motion, be more pain free and life starts to return to normal.
Alternative therapies and aids your doctor may suggest to help you lessen your pain in any stage of frozen shoulder include:
- Acupuncture, massage (Bowen technique) or chiropractic sessions have also been known to reduce pain and treatments can range anywhere from 1 - 6 weeks.
- Medications called nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
- Apply Effective Cold Compression
Effective Cold Compression = Treatment with a ColdCure Wrap® - Immediate cold compression (using the Shoulder ColdCure Wrap®) will allow you to manage pain while getting rid of swelling, inflammation and edema in your shoulder.
- Massage techniques such as advance deep tissue massage, active release techniques and cross-fiber friction has been proven very effective for scar tissue removal, but overall these can be very painful and if done incorrectly can cause more damage to the shoulder than good.
- 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.
- Alternative medications like cortisone injections will help only with symptoms and not dealing with the actual injury. It's designed to reduce inflammation by slowing down the blood flow to the area that is trying to heal your injury. Yes, you may feel temporary pain relief, but at the high cost of re-injury or your frozen shoulder injuries not even healing at all!
"Medical evidence shows that cortisone shots can damage the surrounding tissue, fray the tendon and ligament tissue, and even trigger a rupture. Most side effects are temporary, but skin weakening (atrophy) and lightening of the skin (depigmentation) can be permanent." (reference: American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons)
- Nonprescription pain medications, such as acetaminophen; these should be taken with CAUTION. Pain killers isn't helpful for long-term healing of frozen shoulder injuries, because the pain killers will allow you to tolerate pain during your daily life. Since pain medication maskes the pain of the injury, it becomes much easier for your injury to get much worse because you don't feel the pain and push yourself beyond what your body is capable of doing. If you decide to rely on pain killers alone you'll soon see for yourself (if you haven't already) that your injury will get worse causing you to suffer with frozen shoulder for years.
You won't find anything better to treat your frozen shoulder syndrome at home.
In fact, our same products are recommended more and more often by physical therapists as a way for you, their client, to treat yourself between physical therapy sessions. The AidMyFrozenShoulder rehab system utilizing a Cold Compression ColdCure Wrap® and Blood Flow Stimulation Therapy™ BFST Wrap® the best medical treatment devices that you can use at home.
The AidMyFrozenShoulder therapeutic at-home healing system gives you:
- Products that are approved by the FDA for use in the hospital or at home.
- A 3-Step Treatment Formula used by physical therapists and doctors - with a Side Shoulder BFST Wrap® used to increase blood flow circulation before stretching and exercises and a Side Shoulder ColdCure Wrap® to 'cool down' & relieve post-stretching pain / swelling.
- A BFST Wrap® with deeply penetrating Blood Flow Stimulation Therapy™ right into your damaged tissue in your shoulder joint where you need treatment most (unlike other methods that just heat your skin - like hot water bottles, hot baths, etc.)
- A Cold Compression ColdCure Wrap® that relieves pain, inflammation and swelling fast with consistent cold temperatures that WON'T reach temperatures so low that it causes cryoburn (like ice or blue gel packs full of anti-freeze and chemicals).
- Food-grade, non-toxic gel packs that can be chilled in the fridge or freezer.
- Medical-grade, soft, plush, neoprene wraps that meet ISO 10993 biocompatibility testing - providing the safest product for cold compression and Blood Flow Stimulation Therapy™ treatment.
If surgical repair is required, talk to your doctor about using these same products for post-surgery recovery. Enhancing your healing by reducing post-surgery inflammation, enhancing range of motion and minimizing scar tissue growth.
The Good News: the Body uses Blood to Repair Itself
Before we go further, it's important to understand that your body is capable of healing itself. You know this as you have felt the pain of the inflammation when you noticed your shoulder hurt. This is why your doctor will always try to opt for the conservative treatment first - usually, it works although it takes time to heal. Your blood flow carries oxygen and much needed nutrients to injured cells in the body while also flushing away toxins and waste at the same time.
Step 1 - Reduce Pain & Swelling with a ColdCure Wrap®
The 1st step for conservative treatment of your Stage 1 'Freezing' is to reduce pain, swelling and tissue damage. Many doctors, surgeons and physical therapists consider cold compression therapy to be the gold standard for treatment of inflammation and pain. On-going cold compression treatments can reduce, or even eliminate, the need for NSAIDs or other medications that can be harmful to your body.
Stage 2 'Frozen' and Stage 3 'Thawing' using effective cold compression ColdCure Wrap® ONLY used on an as-needed basis, typically after activity that stress the shoulder. Most importantly to used after stretching or exercising the shoulder. When using cold compression is reducing pain and preventing swelling.
When treating conservatively in stage 2 and 3 or even after surgery is to reduce swelling to "open up" the area for more blood flow. Anyone in the health-care business knows that your blood supplies the oxygen and much needed nutrients required for your body to heal naturally after surgery. This is why doctors and surgeons recommend cold compression therapy within the first 72 hours of an injury and following lateral meniscus surgery.
Cold compression therapy is known and trusted by most medical professionals. This is why for years doctors, trainers and other medical professionals have recommended RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) to treat the pain and swelling of fresh injuries, chronic pain, after any re-injury, and especially after surgery.
Although RICE can help to treat these symptoms, ice and inferior gel packs reach temperatures so low they can cause cryoburn, an ice burn on your skin. The problem is, up until now there hasn't been any other option to treat painful conditions and injuries with effective cold compression, so ice and blue gel packs (full of antifreeze and chemicals) have been the only choice up until now.
Fortunately you no longer have to settle for these ice cold methods that are uncomfortably cold against your skin, provide short term relief, cause ice burns, and numb your skin and underlying tissue beyond feeling so you don't even notice the ice burn until it's too late. You can also get rid of those cold packs that warm up soon after you pull them out of the freezer and gel that pools around your injury putting the short-term cold everywhere except for where you need it most - on your meniscus injury!
The ColdCure Wrap® is the cold compression tool you need for your post-surgical recovery to treat yourself in an effective and convenient way.
When used on a frozen shoulder injury, our ColdCure Wraps® provide:
- The highest-level of cold compression to quickly decrease pain, swelling, inflammation and draw the heat out of your shoulder.
- A tailored wrap that conforms perfectly around your shoulder.
- Effective cold compression that's unlike any other cold compression wrap out there.
- Cold temperatures that stay right over your frozen shoulder for the entire length of your treatment.
- A home-based solution with consistent (daily) cold treatments that reduces swelling fast, decreases tissue damage after injury or surgery, and opens up the vessels in and around your shoulder to receive the blood flow circulation needed to heal quickly and naturally.
- Heavier, more substantial gel packs containing a special formulation of gel - called RigiGel®.
RigiGel® is our trademarked name for a unique gel formula that's made out of food-grade, non-toxic material which holds the cold for an extended period of time. This specially formulated gel also features non-migrating gel technology that makes our Shoulder ColdCure Wrap® truly different from any other wrap available on the market.
RigiGel® is a patented formula that gives you:
- More cooling power per pound of gel than standard cold compression wraps.
- More gel than other wraps, meaning every time you put one on it will keep your shoulder cold for a longer period; pain relief is enhanced and swelling is better controlled.
Our special RigiGel® packs can be chilled in the fridge or freezer to tailor the amount of cold that you need for your injury. It doesn't matter how you cool it down, because our gel packs are chock full of gel that's designed to cool down into millions of tiny snowflakes. This method of cooling means our gel packs aren't icy-cold, just perfectly cold enough to give you the most effective cold compression available.
The cushioned gel will wrap around your shoulder and it won't budge for the entire treatment period. You'll no longer have to deal with annoying pooling around your shoulder or have to hold a hard block of ice on your injury!
Effective Cold Compression Therapy slows nerve and cell function - reducing the swelling that blocks blood vessels from doing their job.
This is important because once blood vessels are blocked or damaged, they can no longer carry oxygenated blood through the tissue and tissue cells begin to break-down. Without cold compression therapy cellular break-down and tissue damage continues as the cells don't get the oxygen they need to survive. By limiting the amount of damage done to your shoulder, you also limit the amount of healing that needs to occur. This is a very important step to heal any injury faster and with less pain! This is why you need to treat your injury as soon as possible, when you notice pain / swelling / inflammation, directly after a re-injury or surgery. Applying a ColdCure Wrap® right away will stop the damage immediately and unblock your blood vessels to let your body's natural blood flow in to start healing the tissue.
The ColdCure Wrap® = Effective Cold Compression Therapy
It'll seem weird for you to read this, but there are a LOT of people out there that don't understand how fast cold compression with a Shoulder ColdCure Wrap® can get the swelling / inflammation in your Shoulder under control! After you get rid of the swelling for good you can start actually dealing with your shoulder injury and the healing needed.
Use a Cold Compression Shoulder ColdCure Wrap®:
- 24 to 72 hours after your initial injury or when you first notice pain and swelling around your injured shoulder to stop cellular damage, relieve pain, and decrease swelling.
- After exercise, workouts or activity of any kind to prevent re-injury of your shoulder.
- Before and after surgery during rehabilitation to control pre and post-surgery pain and swelling.
- Anytime you feel your shoulder is tender, painful or you're having a flare-up of an old injury.
- Anytime you have swelling, sharp throbbing pain or inflammation.
- Any other situation where you need to draw the pain and inflammation out of your shoulder.
Step 2 - Improve Circulation, Soften Scar Tissue & Prevent Re-Injury with Blood Flow Stimulation Therapy™
Suffering from frozen shoulder is a long path to recovery. Your shoulder is stiff and lacks mobility and strength. Even to just get a pair of pants on in the morning.
The truth is that healing takes time and after the swelling is been reduced injury isn't even close to being fully healed. If your suffering a secondary condition that caused your frozen shoulder it heals at an incredibly slow rate.
After the inflammation in and around your shoulder has been reduced, providing extra blood flow and strengthening the tissue in and around your shoulder is recommended. Believe it or not, the best time for you to focus on avoiding re-injury and strengthening the weakened tissue in your shoulder is when the swelling's gone and your injury has started to heal. It's vital that you don't go back to activities too soon because you might bring on a major setback in your recovery...
- Have you recently re-injured your shoulder by returning to your normal daily activities too quickly?
- How many times in the past have you aggravated your shoulder just trying to perform basic tasks around your house?
- Is your frozen shoulder preventing you from work or activities you love to do?
If this sounds like you - You're not alone...
Most people we deal with tell us these scenarios have happened to them many times in the past. The real challenge is how to promote blood flow to your injured shoulder when you can hardly move it without causing further damage. This goal is even more complicated by the fact that you have to use your shoulder and arm for almost everything in everyday life.
What can you do to actually start healing your frozen shoulder?
The answer is simple. Your body can heal itself and it's the blood in your body that makes it all happen. Your blood is how everything that's good inside of you is transported directly to your injured shoulder tissue. Your blood carries oxygen, nutrients, water and antibodies right to the source of your injury and pain. Bringing proper blood flow to your injured shoulder is essential to healing.
Promoting blood flow around injured tissue to help the body heal itself is a concept that's been used for centuries. Oxygen and nutrients, carried in your own blood, are critical for the body to heal itself. Without proper blood flow, recovering from your shoulder injury will be delayed... Sometimes for a very long period of time.
Even though the concept is simple, improving blood flow to your shoulder can be difficult. When an injury occurs and you have so much restricted movement in your arm and shoulder. Traditional methods require you to move your sore/stiff shoulder in order to promote blood flow. Relying on movement alone to increase blood flow puts you in danger of pushing your shoulder too much and facing reinjury.
So what do you do when you need to increase blood flow, but you can't move your shoulder without re-injuring your tissue?
This is where the Side Shoulder BFST Wrap® and Blood Flow Stimulation Therapy™ (BFST®) come in!
Using Blood Flow Stimulation Therapy™ (BFST®), will help with your recovery and heal your frozen shoulder more completely. BFST® increases the amount of blood that flows naturally to your soft tissue to nourish your shoulder, improving elasticity and speeding the healing process. This increased Blood Flow Stimulation Therapy™ to your damaged shoulder is greatly needed to complete your healing and avoid re-injury once and for all.
The only way to get BFST® is through use of a Side Shoulder BFST Wrap®.
The Side Shoulder BFST Wrap® is the only treatment method that improves blood flow and circulation on a deep tissue level. Other methods of warming / heating tissue (hot water bottles, hot baths, etc) will only ever increase blood flow on a surface / skin level. These methods need a LOT of time to even reach your damaged shoulder on a deep tissue level. And even if you were to use them this long your skin would heat up to an uncomfortable level and it may even burn you.
The best source of heat treatment is from a product where you don't even feel that much heat. When you don't feel the heat, it means the therapy is working in your deep soft tissue which is really where you need it. It's kind of like how your heart works in your body. You can't "feel" your heart pumping blood all around your body to your arms and legs. You can't even hear your own heartbeat without listening very closely. This is exactly how deep tissue BFST® works too!
You're not supposed to "feel" a lot of heat because the heat isn't treating your skin, it's treating your shoulder, increasing the blood flow right where your injury is!
- When treating a frozen shoulder or any soft tissue injury, an effective therapy will increase blood flow to the injury while your shoulder is immobile. Critical in Stage 2 and 3 of frozen shoulder!
- This increase in blood flow will accelerate the body's own ability to heal itself.
- The Shoulder BFST Wrap® is the most highly effective blood flow stimulation device that you'll find on the market that is approved by the FDA for use in the home or hospital.
Regular treatments with a Side Shoulder or Top Shoulder BFST Wrap® can reduce pain and stiffness from scar tissue and increase overall flexibility in your shoulder. Increased blood flow will whisk away damaged tissue, toxins, and any bacteria in or around your injured shoulder to promote more effective healing. Getting rid of toxins will allow all of the positive healing processes to start in your injury. Increasing blood flow will also increase the amount of oxygen that's being sent to your injured tissue AND boost your tissue's ability to absorb oxygen. (reference: 1)
How Does the Shoulder BFST Wrap® Promote BFST®?
Every BFST Wrap® contains a patented Energy Web® that's flexible and shaped to conform around your shoulder. The Energy Web® provides a uniform wave of healing electromagnetic energy over the entire treatment area. This energy travels deep inside your soft tissue to stimulate blood flow on the deep tissue level where it's needed to heal your injury. It's the electromagnetic energy provided provided by our BFST Wraps® that's crucial to the healing process.
Electromagnetic energy is the only way to get your blood flow moving on a deep tissue level for these reasons:
- Electromagnetic energy waves are not heat waves.
- When emitted from the BFST Wrap®, electromagnetic energy waves penetrate right through your skin and fat layers until they get to your damaged tissue.
- Once these energy waves reach your injured shoulder, they're absorbed and quickly converted into heat energy right at the location of your injury
- The idea of electromagnetic energy waves is slowly catching on in North American, but the truth is, it's a technology that's been used for decades
Many people just don't know that over the past 30 years, researchers in Japan and China have completed extensive studies on the use of electromagnetic energy for healing and their findings have been impressive. Success has been reported in studies from countries like Sweden and Germany. Research is continuing and soon, much of North American will know what the Far East and Europe has known for a long time...
Electromagnetic energy provides a wide range of health benefits for those not only suffering from a frozen shoulder, but for many other soft tissue injuries as well.
Regular treatment with the electromagnetic energy in our BFST Wraps® will ensure:
- Your pain will be reduced.
- Your injured shoulder will heal at an accelerated rate with reduced potential for re-injury.
- Your shoulder will have a larger range of motion and increased extensibility of collagen tissue in your joint and around your shoulder. (Chapter 9 of "Therapeutic Heat and Cold", 4th edition. (amazon.com link - Ed. Justus F. Lehmann, M.D., Williams, and Wilkin)
Electromagnetic Energy = Increased Blood Flow = More Oxygen, More Nutrients and Less Toxins = Faster Healing
Our BFST Wraps® are uniquely patented designs that are better than other alternatives out there for more than just the electromagnetic energy they provide! Our wraps are made from medical-grade material - this should be as important to you as it is to us. Other products that are sold in stores are considered "consumer goods" meaning the material only needs to be as good as a sweater that you wear. Clothing articles like this don't need to meet high standards of production or materials and may include materials that irritate your skin.
Since our wraps are medical-grade products registered with the FDA, they are of a higher quality and need to meet way more standards for manufacturing (ISO 10993 - biocompatibility testing). This makes our wraps the safest product to increase blood flow circulation.
Our manufacturer has spent years perfecting the wrap design to make sure you get the treatment you deserve!
Use A Side (or Top) Shoulder BFST Wrap®:
- After swelling and inflammation have been reduced with cold compression.
- Before exercise or workouts to warm up your shoulder to prevent re-injury.
- Before and after shoulder release surgery, manipulation surgery or during rehabilitation, to warm up your shoulder before physical therapy exercising or stretching.
- Anytime you feel your shoulder has stiffened up, is tight and your mobility is reduced causing you more pain.
- Anytime you have sore or aching tissue in and around your shoulder.
- Any other situation where you need to increase blood flow to your shoulder to relax your soft tissue, relieve pain, prevent re-injury and enhance flexibility of your tissue.
Step 3 - Frozen Shoulder Exercises to Prevent Scar Tissue Build-Up and Regain Mobility
The final step in frozen shoulder rehabilitation is stretching - this is a critical step for complete recovery from your frozen shoulder! Working to align the healthy new tissue and break-up scar tissue is an important part of your recovery from frozen shoulder.
It is important to note that exercising and stretching is most helpful during the 2nd and 3rd stages of the frozen shoulder condition. Exercises or stretching during Stage 1 ('freezing') could be more damaging to your shoulder extend your recovery process even longer. This is when you are in the 'frozen' and 'thawing' process - meaning you are experiencing the worst of your injury with maximum limitation on your mobility. With the guidance of your doctor or physical therapist, as to what frozen shoulder exercises work best for you an your specific range of shoulder movements.
It may seem hard to believe, but our ColdCure Wraps® and BFST Wraps® will assist you in recovering from your frozen shoulder faster. Reduce your chance of suffering from degenerative conditions (like arthritis) by maximizing blood flow where it's needed most and reducing swelling / inflammation induced pain.
Prevention and Promotion of Lifelong Health
If you want to avoid re-injury, or manage pain and increase circulation for lifelong health benefits a Side Shoulder ColdCure Wrap® and BFST Wrap® will provide the results you are looking for.
Why spend time in pain, off from work, and missing out on your active lifestyle when you can be proactive about your injury and the health of your body? Talk to your doctor about incorporating a regular routine of using a ColdCure Wrap® and Blood Flow Stimulation Therapy™.
Call one of our AidMyFrozenShoulder Advisers at no cost or obligation to address any lingering questions you have about using heat or cold for your frozen shoulder injury - toll free 1-866-237-9608
Learn More About SUPERIOR Frozen Shoulder Recovery Treatments
Learn more about how the ColdCure Wrap® is designed to be the most effective cold compression wrap on the market today.
Learn more about how the BFST Wrap® helps with the healing process.