Can You Play Sports Or Exercise With A Frozen Shoulder?

Can You Play Sports Or Exercise With A Frozen Shoulder?

Have you ever tried reaching above your head for something or scratching your back but found yourself in pain? This could be a clear indication that you are dealing with a frozen shoulder. Frozen shoulder is a condition that is characterized by pain, stiffness, and immobility in the joint. Unfortunately, this injury develops gradually and can take quite a while to heal. At New York Sports Medicine Institute, our experts would like to share some helpful information about what activities you can do to ensure a speedy recovery and restoration of movement. Continue reading to learn more!

What Is A Frozen Shoulder?

Frozen shoulder, or adhesive capsulitis, is one of the most common causes of shoulder pain and loss of motion. In primary cases of frozen shoulder, the pain and stiffness occurs without significant reason. However, in secondary cases of frozen shoulder, pain and stiffness can follow an injury, surgery, or illness. Frozen shoulder describes a condition where the joint capsule becomes inflamed and stuck, causing the whole joint to become stiff and difficult to move. Frozen shoulder usually displays as a progression through three phases:

  • Freezing – Patients have pain that comes on over a few weeks with activity. During this stage, there is no noticeable loss of mobility. 
  • Frozen (Adhesive) – The frozen phase can last for up to nine months with significant pain and stiffness with movement. The entire shoulder becomes painful and restricted, and patients almost completely lose external rotation. 
  • Thawing – The thawing phase can last up to 18 months as pain and stiffness gradually diminish. 

Frozen shoulder can be difficult to diagnose during the early stages and to differentiate it from other shoulder disorders. However, our team at New York Sports Medicine Institute specializes in treating issues with the shoulder joint and will help facilitate your return to pain-free movement. 

Can You Exercise With A Frozen Shoulder? 

It’s crucial to consult with an expert to ensure proper diagnosis and treatment of a frozen shoulder. Without proper care, your condition can worsen. Our team will evaluate your shoulder’s range of motion and may perform imaging tests to rule out possible underlying conditions. After the evaluation, we will recommend a personalized treatment plan to address your issue and give you guidance regarding your activities. Here are some of the things you should do when dealing with a frozen shoulder:

  • Use the Affected Arm – Keeping your shoulder idle will not help the healing process, as continual rest may only worsen your condition. A frozen shoulder is often caused by reduced mobility from an injury or surgery, and as you keep your shoulder immobile, the joint capsule tightens and thickens. Therapeutic exercises prescribed by our team can improve your shoulder’s range of motion and strength. 
  • Be Mindful of Sleeping Position and Posture – Frozen shoulder can negatively affect your sleep quality, especially during the freezing stage. Getting adequate sleep will help reduce inflammation and promote healing. You can place a pillow under your affected arm to keep you comfortable as you sleep. When you are sitting or standing, maintain good posture and avoid slouching your shoulders to ease the pain. 

While keeping your arms and shoulders mobile is imperative to your healing, you should avoid moving your shoulder in jarring movements, as they will only worsen pain or add more strain to muscles. Playing sports or exercising with a frozen shoulder can be detrimental to your condition and result in other conditions like tendonitis. Make sure to give your shoulder proper time to heal and gradually return to your activity with your doctor’s approval. 

Contact Us

While a frozen shoulder may not seem severe, it can significantly affect your range of motion and interfere with your quality of life and daily activities. If you are experiencing symptoms of frozen shoulder, New York Sports Medicine Institute is here to help. We provide quality, patient-centered orthopedic care to help you get back to pain-free movement. Be sure to contact us today to learn more and request an appointment!