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
  • Anti-inflammatory medication

  • Seeking the advice of a physiotherapist is recommended

PROGNOSIS
  • 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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