Frozen shoulder or adhesive capsulitis, is a condition characterised by stiffness, pain and limited movement of the joint as the shoulder capsule thickens and tightens up. Stiff bands of tissue called adhesions develop. In many cases, there is less synovial fluid in the joint. Signs and symptoms begin gradually, worsen over time and then resolve, usually within one to three years.
The cause of frozen shoulder is not fully understood and in some cases is unidentifiable. People over 40 who have one or more of the conditions such as diabetes, thyroid problems, shoulder injury or surgery or cardiac disease are at a greater risk of developing a frozen shoulder.
Most frozen shoulder treatment involves controlling pain and restoring range of motion and strengthening through physical therapy. The commitment to doing exercises is important to optimise recovery of mobility.
The advantage of yoga
Asanas or postures can vary from mild to intense. The range of motion achieved through asanas is gentle yet effective. The pawanmuktasana series is one of the simplest practices that has a very profound effect on the human body and is thus the most useful tool for the yogic management of various disorders and maintenance of health. It is useful as a preparatory practice as it opens up all the major joints and relaxes the muscles of the body. The series may be practised by anyone: beginner, young or elderly, and by those with diseased conditions. The practices are simple, gentle and comfortable and can be easily adopted in case of a frozen shoulder.
The following group of asanas is particularly useful for eliminating energy blockages in the joints and outer extremities of the physical body, and works on the pranic (energy) and mental bodies as well. It induces the parasympathetic drive which relaxes the entire body. There is an increase in endorphins which can help reduce pain in the joint.
Goolf chakra or ankle rotation: Sit with the legs stretched out straight in front of you while keeping the spine erect. Slowly rotate the ankles in clockwise and anti-clockwise direction.
Janu chakra or knee rotation: Continue to sit in the same position. Bend the right knee and clasp the hands under the right thigh. Rotate the knee gently without letting the toes touch the floor when straightened. Pull the knee as close as possible to the chest when it is bent. Repeat on the left side.
Manibandha chakra or wrist rotation: Sit in a comfortable position, either sukhasana or vajrasana. Extend the arms forward and make a fist with thumbs inside. Rotate gently clockwise and anti-clockwise.
Skandha chakra or shoulder socket rotation: Place the fingers of the right hand on the right shoulder and left hand on the left shoulder. Gently rotate the elbows in a large circle.
This may be difficult initially. Go easy within the range of mobility of the shoulder.
Greeve Chakra or neck rotation: Begin by moving the head back, then down, tilt right and then left; followed by gentle rotation in the clockwise and anti-clockwise direction.
Keep in mind
Each movement has to be practised 5-10 times gently. Breathe normally.
Begin with pawanmuktasana series, followed by the postures (10-20 seconds each) shown in pictures. Relax in shavasana.
Practice under the guidance of a yoga professional in order to achieve results and avoid any discomfort.
Next week: Yoga for knee care
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