Frozen Shoulder

Are you having decreased shoulder range of motion, pain, and stiffness?
Adhesive Capsulitis, otherwise known as Frozen Shoulder, may be the cause of your decreased motion and shoulder pain.

What is Frozen Shoulder?

  • In frozen shoulder, the shoulder capsule thickens and becomes stiff. Thick bands of tissue called adhesions develop resulting in decreased ROM, pain, and stiffness.

Hallmark Stages of Frozen Shoulder:

  • Stage I (Freezing): In the “freezing” stage, you will notice a gradual increase in pain and stiffness, as well as decreased range of motion. This stage can last anywhere from 6 weeks to 9 months.
  • Stage II (Frozen): During this stage pain intensity will decrease, however stiffness remains relatively unchanged. This often affects sleep and common daily activities.
  • Stage III (Thawing): Finally, shoulder motion will gradually begin to improve! You can expect complete return of strength and range of motion, however this may take several months to accomplish.

What are some common causes of Frozen Shoulder?

  • The exact cause of frozen shoulder is unknown, however risk factors include:
    • Hormonal imbalances, such as thyroid disorder
    • Diabetes or cardiovascular disease
    • Smoking
    • Weakened immune system
    • History of trauma to the shoulder
  • If you are between the ages of 40-60 and female, risk of developing frozen shoulder also increases.

What can be done to treat Frozen Shoulder?

  • Controlling inflammation:
    • Short term, cautious use of Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen, naproxen, and aspirin, can help decrease swelling and pain.
    • Steroid injections can temporarily decrease inflammation in the shoulder joint and may allow for the therapist to further mobilize and stretch the shoulder.
  • Physical Therapy: Exercises and stretches designed to help increase shoulder range of motion are key to a faster recovery! You will be provided with an exercise program to complete at home in addition to supervised exercises and stretching progressions provided at each appointment.

Helpful tips to feel better faster and cope with Frozen Shoulder:

  • Patience! Treatment requires tremendous patience, as there are few shortcuts and improvements will take time.
  • Consistency! Follow the home exercise guidelines provided by your therapist to get the most out of your therapy sessions.
  • Diet and nutrition! Limit the amount of inflammatory foods in your diet in order to reduce the severity and duration of frozen shoulder.
  • Use it or lose it! During the early stages of frozen shoulder immediately begin to gently use as much of your range of motion as you can without excessive discomfort!
  • What if you can’t move it? Then imagine moving it! When we lose range of motion, it’s both a physical and neurological loss.
Request an appointment with a physical therapist  NOW to get a jump-start on faster healing!