Frozen shoulder – what is it and what to do about it

Have you been diagnosed with frozen shoulder? Here is a brief summary on what it is, what to expect, and what can be done about it.

What is Frozen Shoulder?

Frozen shoulder, or adhesive capsulitis, is a poor and exaggerated response by the body to an injury to the shoulder.  It is unknown what causes it, but it is more prevalent in women, if you’re in your middle ages, and in those with diabetes.  There are 3 stages to this nasty condition:

Freezing stage: this stage can last weeks to months.  The capsule around the shoulder starts to stiffen and scar and you lose significant movement in the shoulder.  It is also very painful during this stage!

Frozen stage: again, this stage can last for months.  During this stage, the shoulder becomes less painful, but it is still very limited in movement.

Thawing stage: the shoulder begins to settle in pain and stiffness.  Finally, you will be able to regain some function to your shoulder.

How to Treat Frozen Shoulder?

During the freezing stage, anti-inflammatories and/or a corticosteroid injection may help to settle the pain and irritation.  During the frozen stage, you guessed it, physical therapy, can be started to get the shoulder stronger and moving again.  During the thawing stage you will get the most gains from physical therapy.  It is important you get hands on physical therapy.  This article shows that joint mobilizations in addition to exercise is far superior in regaining your range of motion and function than exercises alone.  You will be in good hands at our clinic, as during every session you will receive hands on treatment to massage and stretch tight muscles and tissues, mobilizations to your shoulder and shoulder blade, and perhaps acupuncture or dry needling to treat your pain and trigger points.

http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0269215515597294

Please contact our clinic if you have any further questions or would like to book an appointment.