What is Frozen Shoulder?
Frozen shoulder, also known as adhesive capsulitis, refers to pain and limited movement of the shoulder joint. It most commonly occurs between the ages of 40-60 and is more prevalent in women than men. Frozen shoulder can start spontaneously when the tissue around the shoulder joint becomes inflamed, which then causes the tissue to shrink causing pain. It may also occur post-surgery and is more prevalent in individuals with type 2 diabetes.
It is still unclear why people suffer from frozen shoulder, but it is mainly thought that it occurs when the shoulder joint is not moving normally. There are three stages of frozen shoulder; freezing, frozen and thawing phases. Frozen shoulder can last a couple of years with it feeling better only after a few months.
What are the symptoms of Frozen Shoulder?
The two main symptoms of frozen shoulder are pain and persistent stiffness of the shoulder joint. This decreases the movement of the shoulder making everyday activities difficult. Symptoms can be mild where you can still perform daily activities with no problems to very severe where you cannot move the shoulder at all.
How can Frozen Shoulder be treated?
Your therapist will take a detailed history of your symptoms then perform a physical examination where they will assess the shoulder movement. Consultation typically includes advice regarding posture, activity modification and guidance on the use of painkillers and anti-inflammatory drugs. Treatment for frozen shoulder includes deep tissue massage, mobilisations, acupuncture, electrotherapy including radial shockwave, heat/ice therapy as well as a home exercise programme to be completed between sessions. We generally recommend weekly sessions for a frozen shoulder, which can then be spaced out as the condition improves.