WHAT IS IT? FROZEN SHOULDER
- Also called adhesive capsulitis.
- Thickening of the capsule (adhesions)
- Degenerative changes also affect the bursa and rotator cuff tendons
- Is a stiff and painful condition which occurs in three stages:
Stage 1 – (Freezing) - pain and spasm which prevents movement.
Stage 2 – (Frozen) - pain with loss of shoulder movement
Stage 3 – (Thawing) - predominantly stiffness rather than pain. Poor scapular and shoulder movement pattern.
Signs and symptoms
Gradual onset of pain
Loss of range of movement (especially outward rotation of a bent arm)
Increasing difficulty with carrying out everyday activities (e.g. brushing hair, doing up bra, playing golf or overhead racquet sports).
WHAT CAUSES IT?
- Can occur for no reason
- Can be triggered by: trauma, surgery, immobilisation, shoulder injuries
- More common in 40-60 year olds
- Increased risk if diabetic, or have thyroid dysfunction
HOW TO SELF MANAGE
Seeking the advice of a physiotherapist is recommended
- Following trauma or surgery recovery can take 1-2 years to resolve.
- If the onset is unrelated to trauma or surgery, then it can be more than 2 years.
- If not treated, and the frozen shoulder does not resolve on its own, then the condition can last years.
- Corticosteroid injections can offer short term pain relief.
- Manipulation under anaesthetic and arthroscopy are surgical interventions which may provide relief.
HOW PHYSIO HELPS?
- Assess your shoulder presentation to confirm that frozen shoulder is the issue
- Address factors which are impairing normal shoulder and shoulder blade function
- Provide manual treatment to provide pain relief (massage, acupuncture)
- Recommend a range of movement, and stabilising program
- Mobilise of the shoulder joint, scapula and thoracic spine
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