5 Principles of Treating the Stiff Shoulder

5 Principles of Treating the Stiff Shoulder

The latest webinar recording for Inner Circle members is now available below.

5 Principles of Treating the Stiff Shoulder

This month’s Inner Circle webinars discussed several principles of treating the stiff shoulder.  We’ll cover:

  • The several types of “stiff shoulders”
  • Are we seeing shoulder stiffness more than we realize?
  • How to completely understand the anatomy and biomechanics of the glenohumeral capsule
  • Know when to push motion (and when not to!)
  • What should people with stiff shoulders do at home between sessions

To access the webinar, please be sure you are logged in and are a member of the Inner Circle program.

8 replies
  1. Daniel Pope
    Daniel Pope says:

    Thanks for the excellent webinar Mike, definitely answered several questions I have about when to push and when not to. Took several notes I’m sure I will be reviewing frequently in the future.

  2. I-hung Chou
    I-hung Chou says:

    Hi, Mike.

    I just bought the Optimal Shoulder Performance dvds, which have yet to reach me in far-away Taiwan. Meanwhile, browsing your blog, I was particularly interested in this webinar as it was supposed to answer a question which I have been wondering about for awhile: when to push motion and when not to. I am currently rehabilitating both shoulders, suspected of suffering from tendinosis.

    My question is this: when I try to do a forward abduction of the arm, (as in the case of a wall walk or a table stretch, where I hold the arms at the top of the movement), it starts to feel strained at about 90 degrees, but I can move it up to 170 degrees, where I try to hold it for about 60 seconds. I’ve been doing this same movement for about three weeks now. I thought it was a tightness problem, but after three weeks doing the same exercise, it causes just as much pain as the first time I did it. Should I back off? I wouldn’t describe the pain as intolerable, just slightly uncomfortable while I hold the posture, but after I let the arms fall back to my sides, it will be painful, perhaps at a pain scale of 3 out of 10 which would subside after about 30 secs. Should I keep up with it or should I back off? I seem to be dealing with a different beast (apparently, not simply a tightness problem that I originally thought it to be), if I am seeing no improvement in this front after repeating the exercise so consistently in the last few weeks.

    Also, with regards to the sustained end range stretch, would it be wise for me to try it even though holding the arms up over my head at 170 degrees causes discomfort/mild pain?

    Your invaluable resource already helps me a lot, and I would greatly appreciate your input as well on my questions.

  3. jacellingson
    jacellingson says:

    Great topic as a stiff shoulder can definitely test our patience. The capsular explanation is very useful. Any additional tips/keys to PREVENT the post-op stiff shoulder? I generally utilize gentle mobs for neuromodulation of pain and frequent motion (pendulums and relatively painfree AAROM). Thanks

  4. stew
    stew says:

    Mike –
    Great webinar. At what length of time from sx would you recommend getting into a JAS or Dynasplint? Like you said, it seems we tend to wait till it’s too late. Also, do you have 2-3 exercises that really work well for you in gaining motion? I’ve found trying to get IR/ER first prior to elevation seems to work a bit better. Robert Donatelli promotes that as well, along with the LLLD and joint mobilization angle. I’ve found using heat + e-stim prior to joint mobs in a mild LLLD stretch tends to do pretty well also. Thanks again. Great stuff
    Bryan Stewart, PT, DPT, OCS

    • Mike Reinold
      Mike Reinold says:

      Bryan, i will get someone into a JAS brace as soon it could help. You don’t have to be super tight, you may just get one early after open shoulder procedures, or in people that tend to guard, or not perform their homework well. Agree with your other comments.

  5. Leah Valvo
    Leah Valvo says:

    Very comprehensive and informative webinar on the Stiff Shoulder. The slides were very helpful to visualize the capsule and pathomechanics.

    This may sound like a reiterative question, but would you also recommend hourly motion for stiff knees?

    Many Thanks!

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