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Fixing Disabling Adhesive Capsulitis Otherwise Known as Frozen Shoulder With Exercise

Updated on March 2, 2012

The Joys of Adhesive Capsulitis Otherwise Known as Frozen Shoulder

A frozen shoulder creeps up on you like winter. You will not notice the loss of ranger of motion but simply think your arms are getting shorter. Things will be out of your grasp put you will simply stand on a chair or place things in your reach. But it will not be sudden but a slow gradual process which is a problem for a person like myself who has literally walked around with broken bones for six weeks before realizing it and then had to go back and get them set. Usually only hairline fractures but none the less normal people realize when they have broken a bone.

I remember it was the Fall before my Mother was diagnosed with Cancer. I was playing ball outside in the backyard with my son. I was throwing over hand and I felt a rip right through the back of my rotator cuff. When I saw the doctor later he explained it was torn before but the final blow was throwing a baseball too hard. I was trying to teach my son baseball. I digress.

We were set to leave for Cleveland which was 831 nautical miles from where we lived. I had taken care of all the packing as I always did and I remember thinking my shoulder kind of hurts. I live in Florida and when it is about to rain I feel it everywhere in my body. Hurricane season is a blast of pain for me.

We flew into John Hopkins airport and I carried everything and my shoulder hurt a bit but not badly. It was about 50 degrees in Cleveland. I unpacked and went to stock up on provisions for the 48 hour trip. I haven’t flown in several years but it was during the time when liquids weren’t allow to be carried on planes and my son likes his juices. I returned from the quaintest little grocery store in Cleveland just before it began snowing. I love snow. My son loves it as well. I guess it is because we live in a place where it doesn’t snow. I noticed I was having trouble moving my arm. I had no idea what was wrong but I hadn’t been hurt so I thought it would go away. I went to bed that night and slept well.

I woke in the middle of the night in dire pain. I could not move my arm at all. I knew I had a tear in the rotator cuff but my shoulder was completely frozen and it hurt terribly. Fortunately we were at the Cleveland Clinic. I asked the hotel were I could receive medical attention the referred me to the ER. The ER informed me I had a frozen shoulder, adhesive capsulitis and arthritis. Apparently the snow, which I love so much, was not helping my frozen shoulder. They were really nice. They gave me something for the pain but told me it would be a long recovery. They are so sweet in Cleveland. I begged for a manipulation. I knew I could be put in twilight sleep and they could manipulate my shoulder and rip up the adhesions. It was perhaps the most painful journey I had ever been on and I had to pack everything. While my Mother wasn’t diagnosed yet I knew she was not well and far too thin to do any heavy lifting so I did it all. And my Mother was a tough trooper.

So I flew home to Florida and I go see my local friendly Orthopedic Surgeon and I ask for the manipulation. He declines and puts me in physical therapy. I told him I really wasn’t interested in paying for physical therapy when I knew I could be put out and the adhesions could be ripped up. I would attend therapy after he ripped up my adhesions. He agreed but insisted I go to strength training before surgery for a week. One week turned into two weeks and two weeks turned into three. The whole time I knew my Mother was sick. I desperately needed to be well for her. We were both waiting for this guy to put me out and fix my shoulder so I could care for her. But it is Florida and this guy went to medical school in Virginia. We have a lot of doctors from Virginia here. He refused. He insisted I would be better off learning how to rip up my own adhesions instead of relying upon him. And for the next several weeks and with pain medication that is exactly what I did. I ripped up my own adhesions in my shoulder.

When I did it I could hear them tear but I was desperate to help my Mother as quickly as possible. My orthopedic surgeon tried a manipulation without anesthesia. Wow, I will never see that guy again!! I quit. I got my shoulder back functional enough to serve my Mother through two years of end stage cancer care but I was in pain the entire time. I just pushed through it but it I wasn’t in a very good mood.

Now my other shoulder is going. I am spending each day ripping up adhesions. I am told that my brain will not allow my body to hurt itself but I have such a high pain tolerance by the time I realize I have pain I am pretty hurt. The great news is my other shoulder feels great now. So I would say my first shoulder is healed relatively speaking.

Once I had to take my son to a doctor’s appointment four hours north of were we live. I accidentally broke my finger. It was what is known as an open fracture. Quite literally the bone was sticking out of my finger and it was bleeding. If I were 15 minutes late we would lose the appointment. If you are a doctor and reading this you might want to rethink that policy. I set my finger but didn’t close the wound because it needed to be debried or it would have gotten infected. I wrapped it and splinted it the best I could and drove 4 hours north making my son’s doctor’s appointment on time. I was a little testy to say the least. They made me sit and wait. When I finally got my son in the room the doctor asked me very frankly what was wrong. I showed him my finger. He told me I had to check into an ER or I might lose my finger. He was pretty shocked when I said, “Well I guess I will have to learn my 9 multiplication tables.”. My son’s appointment went well and before he left the room he said, “You know it is not normal. You should have skipped the appointment and gone to the hospital.”. And I answered him, “I’m German.”. Florida is like, that if you can’t run around with a chopped off finger and medically treat yourself you are lost. BTW, I didn’t go to the hospital until I returned home and then only for the x-ray to confirm I had actually chopped off the top of my finger. The finger healed and I didn’t lose it. It is a little crooked but it is only a finger.

Exercises To Break Up Your Adhensions in Florida

It occurs to me that the rest of the nation maybe forced to treat themselves medically now. Florida always seems to be the testing ground for every horrific government program in the nation.

So I will spare you the chopped off finger treatment and go with how to break up your own frozen shoulder without medication. For those of you over the age of forty you might want to do these exercise just to make certain you have range of motion and strength.

As I understand that after two years a frozen shoulder is supposed to heal itself but that would be two really painful years. And when this happened to me I couldn’t find any information how to resolve this one my own or I would have never even gone to the doctor in the first place.

So the purpose of this hub is to give you the tools to heal yourself in the event you have to. And if you are of a certain age to encourage you to work your shoulders because frozen shoulders are quite common. Do these exercises three times a day 10 repetitions each and you will minimize the effect adhesive capsulitis has on your life.

Of course always as with seek medical advice if you are ill.




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    • JT Walters profile imageAUTHOR

      JT Walters 

      6 years ago from Florida

      Hi Maryft,

      I am so sorry for your pain but my experience is there is an underlying neck issue. One shoulder goes and it is 18 mopnths and then the other shoulder goes and yes, it is horrible. I am almost a year into torn ligaments and no doctor will sow them back on. They blame Obama and I have to remind them Obama isn't in the room. It is not a political thing it is a humane thing.

      My prayers are with you and your grandbabies do not wish for their grandmother to hurt.

      All My Best,


    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I am entering my 6th month of FSS. I never heard of it until I was diagnosed with it. The pain is absolutely horrible. I have been doing pt for 3 months but have not had a lot of progress so will now be doing on my own. Have not had a shot yet, but may soon give it a try. What have all of you been doing for relief. I have a very nice orthopedic doctor, and he really hates to have to give out the FSS diagnosis. He says there is not a whole lot that can be done - except time. He says an average of 18 months. Not sure how much longer I can work with this. Even though I have a desk job, I am answering the phone and typing most of the day. My shoulder and entire arm really get to hurting. The absolute worst is not being able to pick up my grandbabies. Thought I was strong and very patient, but wow.

    • JT Walters profile imageAUTHOR

      JT Walters 

      7 years ago from Florida

      Oh Lord,

      Frozen shoulders are quite common if you have thyroid disease or a neck injury. But they can happen at anytime of year they just hurt worse when you have RA in them. I have had RA since I was young. And you either let it break you or you become stronger.

      I think there should be a new test for all politicians. Chop their finger off and make them govern effectively. If they can do it they can keep their jobs. What am I saying they can't govern effectively with their free houses, loads of money and jets?

      I am a German girl which makes me strong and loyal. And yes, I am exceptionally loyal to my son. He didn't ask to be made. I owe it to him to be a good parent each and everyday of his life. And I strive to do that.

      And if those bums in DC can't appreciate a good parent then what can they appreciate?

      My finger is a little crooked. I couldn't set an open fracture back perfectly. It needed to be pinned into place but I didn't have the time. I had to care for Mom and my son. It is the only crooked part of me.

      And I am quite fond of having you read and comment on my hubs as well. And I enjoy your work also.

      Thank you my friend.


    • Lord De Cross profile image

      Joseph De Cross 

      7 years ago from New York

      You know JT? the more I know you, the more I get attached to your stories. No wonder you want to overthrow our guys on the high Chair. Sorry to hear from your mom. Now I see how you cannot date just like that. You have your main priority, which is your son. Never heard about frozen shoulders, especially around Christmas. You keep up the work. Your mission is set to write and let people hear your saying. Too bad for the ones that depend on lobbying the top guys in DC. Voting you up sweet friend!


    • JT Walters profile imageAUTHOR

      JT Walters 

      7 years ago from Florida

      Hi Jbrock2041,

      I went back and re-editted. Thank you. I am glad you enjoyed the hub. We all go through the pain of losing someone we love. It is just never easy. At least I served her until the end.

      Thanks for reading and commenting.


    • JT Walters profile imageAUTHOR

      JT Walters 

      7 years ago from Florida

      Thanks Brooke Loren,

      All My Best.


    • jbrock2041 profile image


      7 years ago from Park City, UT

      I like the pictures for the exercises. Thanks for sharing and sorry to hear about the pain you've gone through. There a few spelling and grammar mistakes but overall nice hub.

    • Brooke Lorren profile image

      Brooke Lorren 

      7 years ago from Mesa, Arizona

      I've never heard of this before. Great job telling your story. I'm sorry about your mom.

    • JT Walters profile imageAUTHOR

      JT Walters 

      7 years ago from Florida

      Usually the cause is secondary to either a a neck injury or thyroid disease. If I maybe so bold as to suggest you might want to do the exercises for the other shoulder. Because when one goes the other one is not far behind because you had to overcompensate with one shoulder. I am ripping up adhensions before I go to bed tonight. They are always the worst after I sleep and I can't sleep if I am in pain.

      Yes the manipulation is very simple, quick and clean. They put you under they manipualte your shoulder and rip all the adhensions and then when you wake you have to go to therapy to rebuild the strength. But it is a much shorter process.

      The shot didn't help me either.

      Thanks, I miss my Mom a lot especially during the Holidays.

      Thanks for reading and commenting.


    • ttagpine profile image

      George S McChristian 

      7 years ago from Louisiana, USA

      First, I'm sorry to hear about your mother's illness.

      I literally feel some of your pain on your frozen shoulder. My frozen shoulder wasn't quite as severe as yours. I had about 15% use of my left arm & shoulder. That was about 3 years ago. I now have full use, but still have some minor pain.

      I wasn't informed about manipulation. I was given a cortisone shot & exercise instructions. The shot did nothing. I've also had similar pains in both hips before the shoulder. But not all at the same time.

      Anyway. I'm voting up.


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