I have a client with adhesive capsulitis in both shoulders. I am looking for ways to train her to increase her range of motion and ease the pain of everyday life.
"Adhesive capsulitis" is often referred to as "frozen shoulder." It is characterized by painful and very restricted range of motion at the shoulder joint. I am assuming your client has been diagnosed by a medical practitioner. It is my recommendation that you call the physical therapist with whom your client is/was working and get any guidelines they have.
As far as what you can do, try some active and passive range of motion exercises:
- Have her lie on the floor and bend her knees, feet on the floor. Have her extend her arms up over her head as far as she can, then just her arms out to the side and back towards her body. If she feels especially tight in one spot, you can take a towel or something and rest her arm in that position for a minute or two to create more range of motion in the joint in that position as long as it is not painful.
- Have her sit against the wall, with the soles of her feet together, sitting up tall. Have her put her arms up so that she is sitting with her shoulders abducted to just under 90 degrees and elbows flexed to 90 degrees. If she can't do this or it is uncomfortable, put towels or something behind her arms so that she can "push" against something as long as there is no pain. She should try and raise her arms up while keeping them back against the wall as much as possible. Again, if she has a hard time, you can progress by having her only keep her arms back as far as she can and even pad them up with towels and hold in different positions for 30 or more seconds.
- Have her stand close to the wall, facing the wall. Have her "walk" her fingers up the wall in front of her, as long as there is no pain. You can change the angle at which she moves her arm (i.e., more to the side, then straight up, etc). You should also work on traditional posture exercises, as this may contribute to future success in working posterior muscles, encouraging habit changes, etc.
As always, you should always stay in touch with her medical team in case she needs additional treatments. You may want to have her warm up the area before working and then apply ice after the workouts as well.