What is a Frozen Shoulder?
A frozen shoulder, also known as Adhesive Capsulitis, is an inflammatory condition affecting the shoulder joint where adhesions cause pain and stiffness, greatly restricting the normal range of movement.
They are most commonly seen in males aged between 40-60 years, especially in diabetics.
Frozen Shoulders are commonly misdiagnosed as rotator cuff pathologies by inexperienced practitioners, therefore it is essential to get an accurate diagnosis since the treatment and recovery time can vary significantly.
Signs & Symptoms
- shoulder pain and stiffness, with a restriction of movement
- pain with lying on the affected shoulder
- unable to reach above shoulder height or behind your back
- pain with quicker movements, such as reaching for a falling object
- difficulty with reaching for your seatbelt or tucking your shirt in
Normally, a Frozen Shoulder follows a particular pattern, or specific stages.
Stage 1: Freezing – characterised by a gradual onset of unexplained shoulder pain, followed by a progressive loss of joint movement.
Stage 2: Frozen – varying shoulder pain, with no further loss or regain of movement.
Stage 3: Thawing – minimal shoulder pain, with a gradual return of shoulder movement.
Each stage can last between 3-6 months if left untreated.
What causes a Frozen Shoulder?
Unfortunately, the actual cause of a frozen shoulder is still unknown with much debate surrounding the topic in the medical community. It is thought that sometimes the condition occurs because the shoulder has been immobilised for a long period of time due to injury, surgery or illness.
How can we help?
- Shoulder Joint Mobilisations and Soft Tissue Massage can be used to relieve pain and help restore shoulder movement.
- Acupuncture / Dry Needling can relieve pain and help improve muscle function. This can be performed withElectrotherapy for enhanced pain relief if indicated.
- Prescribe Stretching and Strengthening Exercises to regain shoulder movement and strength for a speedy return to function.
- Kinesio-Taping can help with pain relief, while improving posture and muscle function.
- A Corticosteroid Injection can also organised by your physiotherapist if the pain is becoming unbearable.
Is your shoulder pain or movement getting worse and you’re not sure why? Is it now stopping you from performing at work and you’re worried you’ll soon have to go off sick?
See an expert at Spine & Sports Physiotherapy now to help restore your normal shoulder movement and get on with your life!!!