Frozen Shoulder, or more technically called Adhesive Capsulitis, causes pain, stiffness and loss of normal range of motion in the shoulder.
What Causes Frozen Shoulder?
Your shoulder is a ball and socket joint made up of three bones: upper arm bone (humerus), shoulder blade (scapula) and collarbone (clavicle). The head of the humerus sits in the shallow socket of your scapula. A strong connective tissue, called the shoulder capsule, surrounds the joint to provide stability. Within the capsule is synovial fluid which acts to lubricate the joint to allow smooth movement.
Frozen shoulder is an inflammatory condition, the exact cause is not completely understood however, studies suggest several genetic, pre disposing factors and environmental influences may initiate the inflammatory response.
The inflammatory response causes the shoulder capsule to thicken and become stiff and tight. Thick bands of tissue, called adhesions develop.
Three Stages of Frozen Shoulder:
Stage 1: Freezing
There is a gradual increase of shoulder pain at rest and sharp pain at end ranges, often causing sleep interruption. This phase can last anywhere from 2 to 9 months.
Stage 2: Frozen
Pain starts to subside in this stage, however the stiffness (lack of movement) remains. In this stage, completing daily activities can be very difficult due to restricted movement. The “frozen” stage can last between 4 to 12 months.
Stage 3: Thawing
Range of motion progressively improves as the shoulder “thaws” out of the “frozen” stage. Most people will achieve normal or close to normal strength and range within 5 to 24 months depending on severity and adherence to Physiotherapy exercise rehabilitation.
Frozen Shoulder Treatment
Physiotherapy Assessment and Diagnosis
A thorough assessment and accurate diagnosis is very important. Especially in the early phase, frozen shoulder can present similar to other shoulder injuries. It is important to rule out any other conditions to ensure that there is not something more sinister at play, and allow the most effective rehab program to be commences as early as possible.
A physiotherapist can prescribe specific mobility exercises to minimise loss of range of motion and ensure the shoulder joint remains healthy. This will ensure that we minimise any further loss of range and strength, especially throughout stage 1 and 2. You’r Qualified Physiotherapist will also prescribe exercises and exercise modifications to ensure you can still keep the rest of your body fit and strong while working to fix the shoulder.
As pain begins to subside, and range of motion progresses it is important to begin a progressive strengthening program this is to reverse strength losses secondary to not being able to use the shoulder and arm it its full capacity, as well as identify any underlying muscle weaknesses or imbalances that may have contributed to the pain state.
Treatment Through Physiotherapy
Physiotherapy has several goals including promote healing, reduce pain, avoiding aggravation, optimising physical function and global strengthening to restore normal movement patterns. To see how we can help you with your shoulder pain BOOK ONLINE TODAY