What is frozen shoulder?
A frozen shoulder is a shoulder joint with significant loss of its range of motion in all directions. The range of motion is limited not only when the patient attempts motion but also when the doctor attempts to move the joint fully while the patient relaxes. A frozen shoulder is medically referred to as adhesive capsulitis.
Frozen shoulder is the result of inflammation, scarring, thickening, and shrinkage of the capsule that surrounds the normal shoulder joint. Any injury to the shoulder can lead to a frozen shoulder, including tendinitis, bursitis, and rotator cuff injury (rotator cuff syndrome).
Frozen shoulders occur more frequently in patients with risk factors of diabetes, chronic inflammatory arthritis of the shoulder, or after chest or breast surgery. Long-term immobility of the shoulder joint can put people at risk to develop a frozen shoulder.
Symptoms of Frozen Shoulder
Symptoms and signs of a frozen shoulder include pain, stiffness, and loss of range of motion of the shoulder. The shoulder range of motion is limited when either the patient or an examiner attempts to move the joint. The shoulder can develop increased pain with use. These symptoms can make sleep very uncomfortable.
Suggestions for treating frozen shoulder
The treatment of a frozen shoulder usually requires an aggressive combination of anti-inflammatory medication, cortisone injection(s) into the shoulder, hydrodilatation and manual therapy such osteopathy and physiotherapy.
Regular manual therapy is often essential for recovery and can include ultrasound, electric stimulation, range-of-motion exercises, stretching, ice packs, and eventually strengthening exercises. Manual therapy can take weeks to months for recovery, depending on the severity of the scarring of the tissues around the shoulder.
It is very important for people with a frozen shoulder to avoid re-injuring the shoulder tissues during the rehabilitation period. These individuals should avoid sudden, jerking motions of or heavy lifting with the affected shoulder.
Sometimes a frozen shoulder is resistant to treatment. Patients with resistant frozen shoulders can be considered for release of the scar tissue by arthroscopic surgery or manipulation of the scarred shoulder under anaesthetic.
Your osteopath or physiotherapist at Premier Health Partners are trained to determine the most appropriate form of treatment that is tailored specifically for you.
Contact us now for immediate advice regarding frozen shoulder.