Frozen Shoulder

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What is Frozen Shoulder?

Frozen shoulder, AKA adhesive capsulitis, is a condition where the shoulder joint becomes stiff and sometimes painful. The lining of the shoulder joint, called a “capsule”, is normally a flexible structure that permits extensive range of movement at the shoulder. In the case of a frozen shoulder, the joint capsule becomes contracted and inflamed, resulting in limited range of movement and pain with movement, normally at the limits of range.

Causes of Frozen Shoulder

There is often no distinctive cause. There have been reported links with those who suffer from diabetes, high cholesterol, heart disease and can be triggered by an impact injury to the shoulder and potentially cardiac surgeries. The condition mostly affects people aged 40-60 years old and is more common in women than men.

Symptoms of Frozen Shoulder

There are three distance stages to a frozen shoulder:

Stage 1: Freezing Stage

The shoulder starts to become painful. Increasingly so when reaching out for things. Shoulder movement decreases and pain worsens at night.

Stage 2: Frozen Stage

Pain may start to decrease however, the shoulder joint becomes stiffens and movement is now very limited.

Stage 3: Thawing Stage

Shoulder movement gradually increases with pain continuing to fade away. The shoulder joint returns to a more “normal” condition.

Physiotherapy for Frozen Shoulders

Physiotherapy for frozen shoulder can support and speed up recovery.

Techniques to reduce pain, stiffness and restore range of movement include:

  • Mobilising and stretching the joint capsule
  • Massage
  • Prescriptive exercise
  • Electrotherapy
  • Radiotherapy at thermal levels to increase tissue extensibility allowing increased ROM
  • Advice on pain relief and methods to reduce day to day pain

At Resolve we would use a combination of these methods at key stages to reduce your pain, increase movement and get you back to the activities that you enjoy as quickly as possible.

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