The global prevalence of diabetes has risen dramatically in the last few decades, and currently affects millions of people around the world. Diabetics require to control the blood sugar level in their body otherwise, it can lead to long-term complications, like heart problems, muscle cramps, arteriosclerosis (blocked arteries), etc. Regular exercises help to keep the heart healthy and maintain the cholesterol level in the body. Diabetics have high glucose levels in their blood because, either their body doesn't produce enough insulin to process glucose, or their body doesn't use insulin properly. This leads to the development of various joint disorders associated with diabetes, and among them, shoulder issues like the frozen shoulder are observed quite commonly in diabetic patients. A frozen shoulder is characterized by pain, thick adhesions, and significant loss of its range of motion in all directions. And exercises are generally helpful in restoring shoulder joint movement. In this blog, we have mentioned a few exercises for frozen shoulders.

Frozen shoulder

Frozen shoulder or adhesive capsulitis, is painful with loss of shoulder motion, which typically occurs in phases. It starts with pain and stiffness, that lasts for 2-6 months. Then it evolves into a less painful, but stiff with complete loss of certain movements. Usually, after months to years of the onset, there is spontaneous improvement in the range of motion. Physiotherapy treatment focuses on decreasing pain, and inflammation, and increasing the range of motion. 

Exercise for Frozen Shoulder

Before doing these exercises do warm up by taking a warm shower or bath for 10 -15 minutes.

Flexion Extension Exercises:
  • Sit or stand and use an exercise rod or band.
  • Gently bend the arm and shoulder muscles.
  • Lift the rod or band over the head and behind the back.
 Pendulum Stretch:
  • Relax the shoulders.
  • Stand and lean slightly forward, so that the affected arm hangs down,
  • Swing the arm in a small circle in clockwise and anti-clockwise directions about a foot in diameter.
 Towel Stretch:
  • Hold one end of a towel behind the back and grab the opposite end with the other hand.
  • Hold the towel in a horizontal position. Use the unaffected arm to pull the affected arm upward so that stretch is felt.
 Finger Walk:
  • Face a wall at arm's length.
  • Reach the wall at waist level with the fingertips of the affected arm. Bend the elbow slightly, slowly walk the fingers up the wall, till the arm is raised as far as comfortable.
  • Do not involve the shoulder muscles.
 Cross-body Reach:
  • Sit or stand and use the good arm to lift the affected arm at the elbow, and bring it up and across the body, exerting gentle pressure to stretch the shoulder.
  • Hold the stretch for 20 seconds.
 Armpit Stretch:
  • Use the unaffected arm to lift the affected arm onto a shelf about breast height.
  • Slowly bend the knees and open up the armpit.
  • Deepen the knee bend slightly, gently stretch the armpit, and then straighten.
  • Stretch a little further with each knee bend, without forcing it.
 Outward Rotation:
  • Hold an exercise band between the hands with the elbows at a 90-degree angle close to the sides.
  • Rotate the lower part of the affected arm outward two or three inches and hold for 5 secs.
 Inward Rotation:
  • Stand next to a closed door, and hook one end of an exercise band around the doorknob.
  • Hold the other end with the hand of the affected arm, while holding the elbow at a 90-degree angle.
  • Pull the band toward the body 2-3 inches and hold for 5 seconds.
 Hand-behind-back Stretch
  • Stand and place the affected arm behind the back.
  • Use the opposite hand to take hold of this wrist.
  • Stretch the affected arm by moving it towards the opposite buttock.
  • Slowly move it as far up as possible.
  • Hold this position for a few seconds.
 Umbrella Push
  • Sit in a chair with the elbows alongside the body.
  • To hold an umbrella in front, use an overhand grip.
  • Use the unaffected arm to push the affected arm over to the side.
  • Keep the elbow of the affected arm drawn in at the side.
  • Return to the starting position.

While performing these exercises, do them gradually and hold the arm at the endpoint of the range of motion for a few seconds. Slowly release the stretch and repeat. Do not perform forceful movements because they can elicit pain.