If you notice that you are having trouble taking a book off an overhead shelf or raising your hand to shampoo your hair, you may be experiencing a partial loss of arm movement. Many people might think this lack of mobility comes from aging or a lack of strength in the arm. However, there can be many underlying causes. You might have stiffness in your shoulder, recover from an injury, or lose partial arm movement after a stroke, for example.

Available, Easy Treatment Options

Like many causes, multiple effective treatment options for regaining your arm mobility exist. These rehabilitation methods, besides improving flexibility, may also strengthen your arm muscles, improve limb function, and prevent future injury. AgeEnvy has put together a few expert-recommended practices for regaining arm movement to help you choose the best personal option for you, and inspire you to take action soon:

Physiotherapy

Whether it’s rotator cuff tears or any other arm injury, physical therapy is often a successful, non-surgical treatment. It aims to improve the function and mobility of your shoulder by strengthening the muscles surrounding it. In most cases, it all starts with your doctor referring you to a physiotherapist to deal with your shoulder disorder; after examining your condition, the therapist will devise a care plan for treatment.

This custom-designed exercise treatment will help heal your injury faster than usual while regaining your lost mobility. That’s not all though: your therapist will advise you to go about your daily activities for a better recovery and to avoid re-injury. A unique exercise routine may be prescribed for you to follow at home to maintain your mobility once your therapy sessions are over. 

In some cases, physiotherapy has prevented the need for surgery, which proves beneficial, especially for elders who may not have a high chance of success with surgery. A few recent studies show that most patients find physiotherapy adequate for shoulder injuries, though the recovery period might differ from person to person.

Electrical Stimulation

Another promising arm rehabilitation treatment with plenty of research work behind it is electrical stimulation therapy. Electrodes are placed on the skin over the muscles responsible for affected motion. The electric current via electrodes stimulates muscle contraction, resulting in arm movement. Studies have shown that electrical stimulation combined with rehabilitation exercise produces better results than just electrical stimulation alone. Consult your doctor or therapist before you feel you can attempt e-stim on your own. They will be able to show you how to use the machine safely and where to place the electrodes. 

Electrical Stimulation on arm

Neuroplasticity

Regaining arm movement after a stroke or traumatic brain or arm injury revolves around healing the brain and rebuilding neural pathways. This can be helped with the aid of neuroplasticity, which is your brain’s natural ability to rewire and learn new skills or re-learn old ones after a neurological event. It works regardless of how severe your arm mobility has been compromised. What’s important is that you move your arm to stimulate your brain. Passive exercise is a great place to start if your affected arm has been severely paralyzed. Move your affected arm through therapeutic arm exercises with the help of your unaffected arm, or have a therapist do it for you. Such passive movements stimulate the brain and activate neuroplasticity. Be aware the results will likely take time. For instance, you might start noticing twitches in your arm after a few months of practice. This can indicate that your arm is starting to wake up. Therefore, hope and consistency are crucial to recovery here.

Surgery

Surgery is rarely performed for a frozen shoulder, but if nothing else has worked out, your doctor may recommend it to have scar tissue and adhesions removed from inside your shoulder joint. 

The same goes for elbow stiffness, which occurs due to a traumatic injury, and surgery to treat the stiffness is only considered after physiotherapy proves ineffective. In both cases, arthroscopy is performed by the doctor, where lighted tubular instruments are inserted through small incisions around your joint.

Yoga

Yoga has excellent poses for reducing shoulder tension and opening into a deeper range of motion. Alternating between strengthening and flexibility postures will benefit your body significantly over time. Increasing the range of your shoulder movement requires stretching out all the surrounding tissues at the joint. Some yoga poses like Eagle Arms, Thread the Needle, and Peddler’s Posture can help with growing your shoulder’s range of motion. Keeping the tissues surrounding a joint strong is an excellent way to maintain joint health, especially in joints as complex as the shoulders. Poses like plank and side plank hold are meant to build the strength of your shoulder tissues gradually as well, which can also be helpful.

A woman in sportswear doing a variant of the Peddler’s Posture yoga pose

Medications

Over-the-counter drugs like aspirin and ibuprofen can help reduce pain and inflammation linked to a frozen shoulder. You can continue with your exercises or physical therapy without pain or inflammation by using such medications. Doctors may prescribe more potent pain relievers and anti-inflammatory medications in some severe cases.

Acupuncture

Acupuncture, an ancient Chinese medical technique, has been acknowledged by the modern medical community as an effective treatment for a wide range of health conditions, scapulohumeral periarthritis (pain and range of motion disorder of the shoulder) being one of them. Extremely fine needles are inserted into your skin at specific points, which, typically, remain in place for 15 to 30 minutes. They may be manipulated or moved during that time by the therapist. Most acupuncture therapy sessions are painless experiences since needles used in acupuncture are hair-thin, flexible, and are often placed superficially.

In Conclusion

While a decreased range of motion might seem temporary, prolonged negligence can often lead to chronic issues. Therefore, taking notice of early symptoms and singling out the appropriate treatment strategy from the options above becomes essential. If you have been dealing with a stiff shoulder or restricted arm movement lately, it is time to visit AgeEnvy to find the best treatment. We have expertise in a wide variety of aesthetic, regenerative, integrative, and functional medicine, which can offer long-lasting relief and a better quality of life. Contact us for more details today!

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