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How to Gently Break Up Adhesions in a Frozen Shoulder

The definitive cause of frozen shoulder, also called adhesive capsulitis, is unknown. Some believe it is a self protective mechanism to prevent damaged tendons from becoming further damaged. Others point to an autoimmune mechanism that creates inflammation.

Regardless of the root cause, rather than wait the typical 1-2 years for a frozen shoulder to return to normal on its own, this is a way of gently breaking up adhesions in the ligamentous capsule that surrounds the glenohumeral joint and encouraging a return to a normal level of laxity in this capsule which is intended to provide the shoulder joint with stability as the arms are used in all directions.

The idea is to gently distract the ball of the humerus (arm bone) away from the socket that it sits in (glenoid fossa), and in this distracted position, to take the shoulder joint through internal and external rotation, effectively inducing a return to normal laxity within the ligamentous capsule.

You can do this with gym rings, a TRX suspension system, or even with your hand hooked on a stable anchor - anything that allows you to create long axis traction in the shoulder joint as you actively move it through internal and external rotation.

Another way is to assume a downward row position with your back strong, and to let your arm hang straight down with a dumbbell or more ideally, a kettlebell, and then to rotate the weight back and forth to encourage the shoulder capsule to be internally and externally stretched.

Please consider sharing with family and friends who are suffering with limited shoulder mobility.


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