The Saga of a Shoulder Injury Con't: Moving Away from Pain

October 18, 2010

This is the third in a series of postings on Frozen Shoulder.

When the pain of your frozen shoulder begins to subside it is time to “think” about more normal use of the arm. Think being the operative word as you begin to explore using the “well” arm and imagine doing the same movements with the injured arm. One of the biggest mistakes I made during the early stages of my injury was to do too much exercise and stretching of the areas around the affected area in the hopes that creating greater flexibility elsewhere would encourage greater flexibility in the shoulder. This was a detriment to the shoulder and delayed my recovery by several months. However, once the muscles began to respond (see last week’s posting XXX click here) and support the arm I was able to start mild exercise and gentle Awareness Through Movement lessons.

Hand to Mouth
You’ll have to experiment with this movement sequence to see if it will work for you (each person is different so there is no guarantee that one exercise will work for everyone). The path to eating is generally the easiest since we do it so often over a lifetime. Move your hand slowly up to your mouth and back down to your side. A client told me, “I moved my arm that was attached to my frozen shoulder as if I were eating and found I could reach upward for the first time in a long while. The path was at first very narrow and often I had to reverse the movement several times before proceeding”.

If You Can’t Open the Door, Climb Through the Window
If your arm is resistant to any upward motion there’s another strategy that’s really sneaky and will often fool the brain. When we can’t take the hand to the mouth we can often switch that around and take the mouth to the hand (I wouldn’t recommend this for eating!).

Put your hand on your knee, bend forward from your hips and take your mouth towards your hand. Attach your hand to your mouth and keep it there while you come back up to your starting position. Continue to keep your hand attached to your mouth as you bend forward again and place your hand back on your knee. Leave your hand on your knee and sit up. Do this several times slowly and gently. Then lift your hand towards your mouth to see if it’s easier.  

Next week: Once you can bring your hand up to your mouth without causing a reaction, you need strategies to  extend the arm further and to move it in other directions. Check in next Monday for more suggestions.

If you have any questions or comments visit me, as feldylady on Twitter or on my Facebook page under Sandra Bradshaw, Guild Certified Feldenkrais® Practitioner.


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Feldenkrais®, Feldenkrais Method®, Awareness Through Movement®, and Functional Integration® are registered service marks of the Feldenkrais Guild® of North America. Guild Certified Feldenkrais Practitioner ™ and Guild Certified Feldenkrais Teacher ™ are certification marks of the Feldenkrais Guild®.