0-10 Weeks Frozen Shoulder Physical Therapy Protocol


0-10 Weeks Frozen Shoulder Physical Therapy Protocol

Frozen Shoulder Physical Therapy Protocol
Frozen Shoulder Physical Therapy Protocol

What Is Frozen Shoulder

Frozen Shoulder is an extremely painful and debilitating case it’s distinguished by the pain and stiffness of the shoulder joint. It can last for over 30 months.


How is a frozen shoulder treated?

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) AKA  Over-the-counter medications like aspirin and ibuprofen can help the pain & inflammation accompanied by frozen shoulder syndrome. If those medications didn’t help relieve your pain, the doctor may prescribe some stronger drugs.

Your treatment plan may include implementing a specially designed Frozen Shoulder Physical Therapy Protocol to perform strengthening and stretching exercises to improve your range of motion.


0-10 Weeks Frozen Shoulder Physical Therapy Protocol

Frozen Shoulder Physical Therapy Protocol
Frozen Shoulder Physical Therapy Protocol

0 – 2 Weeks Frozen Shoulder Physical Therapy Protocol

  • Slings are allowed only if needed, first 5 – 7 days, a simple exercise as in taking the arm out only 5 – 7 times a day for elbow range of motion
  • Posture correction and exercises
  • Squeezing exercises with a Ball or putty  throughout the day
  • Icing your shoulder 3 times a day for 15 minutes every two hours in first 5 – 7 days
  • using a Continuous Passive Motion (CPM) device for 4 – 6 hours each day in the 1 – 4 weeks
  • mobilizing exercises for the Soft tissue  esp[ecially the periscapular musculature, cervical spine, and rotator cuff
  • Simple mobilizing exercises for Scapular
  • Passive and active assisted ROM (range of motion) gradual exercises  using a pulley  going for the full range of motion without increasing irritability
  • A cardiovascular workout program in which may include biking, using the treadmill, versaclimber.
  • Core stabilization workout plan
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 2 – 4 Weeks Frozen Shoulder Physical Therapy Protocol

  • The full range of passive motion should be attained by the 2 – 4 weeks
  • Joint mobilization exercise for capsular as well as glenohumeral joints
  • starting rotator cuff strengthening and retaining exercise, focusing on the restoration of proper biomechanics
  • Integrating the shoulder through bilateral UE activity and full body workouts using the upper as well as the lower extremities)
  • Continuing the cardiovascular and core strengthening programs
  • Continue icing for 3 times a day


 4 – 8 Weeks Frozen Shoulder Physical Therapy Protocol

  • A gradual increase in the strengthening exercise according to the perfect biomechanics
  • Independent workout programs both at home and gym
  • The patient may now return to  swimming with good mechanics after 6 weeks


8 – 10 Weeks Frozen Shoulder Physical Therapy Protocol

  • Shifting to the regular activity levels and workout programs
  • The patient now could be safely discharged only with a life-long at-home maintenance program that includes daily ROM working out, rotator cuff exercises, and cardiovascular workout plans


NOTE: These are only guidelines as all progressions are approximations should be based on each individual patient case, which is assessed on weekly basis throughout the implementation of the Frozen Shoulder Physical Therapy Protocol.



HOME MESSAGES To Help With Frozen Shoulder Physical Therapy Protocol

  1. Frozen shoulder patients may typically experience shoulder stiffness as well as medium-to-complete loss of passive and active external rotation of the shoulder.
  2. Frozen shoulder Stages are: freezing (painful), frozen (adhesive) and thawing, which is often self-limiting.
  3. Conservative traditional frozen shoulder treatments usually include NSAIDs, glucocorticoids given orally or as intra-articular injections, with the help of Frozen Shoulder Physical Therapy Protocol.
  4. Home exercises and Frozen Shoulder Physical Therapy Protocol are the first-line treatment, with consideration of the patient’s special condition.
  5. While the freezing (painful) phase, the gentle stretching workouts may be done only for shorter durations (1–5 seconds) without going beyond the patient’s pain threshold.
  6. In the frozen (adhesive) phase, strengthening workouts such as scapular retraction, posterior capsule stretching, and isometric shoulder external rotation exercises might be added to the patient’s workouts for preserving the muscle strength.
  7. In the thawing phase, the patient may experience regaining the normal range of motion; is so both stretching and strengthening workout plans can increase in intensity, with a longer holding duration.
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What Treatments Other Than Frozen Shoulder Physical Therapy Protocol

Frozen Shoulder Physical Therapy Protocol
Frozen Shoulder Physical Therapy Protocol

If your symptoms are severe or your pain doesn’t improve over the time, the doctor may recommend other types of treatments, such as:

  • Corticosteroid shoulder injections to decrease the pain and improve the range of motion.
  • Joint distension. Which means that the doctor will give you a sterile water injection into your shoulder capsule to help you move your shoulder much more easily.
  • Surgery.  which is rarely used for treating frozen shoulder syndrome, but if other treatments haven’t helped to relieve the pain, your doctor may suggest surgery.
  • Shoulder manipulation helps loosen up your shoulder tissues but is very rarely done anymore because arthroscopic surgery has replaced it.
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