Frozen shoulder is also known as adhesive capsulitis. This is a condition that affects the shoulder and leads to pain, inflammation and limited mobility. Usually shoulder tightness gradually gets better over time and this can take 1-3 years. Pain is typically worse at night and this may mimic a rotator cuff tear and acute rotator cuff tendinitis.
Symptoms of frozen shoulder
Frozen shoulder can come on slowly and insidiously and its symptoms can be as vague as the condition itself. Typically frozen shoulder will come on in this manner. Our chiropractors and physiotherapists describe its three stages.
The freezing stage: This is where the shoulder slowly starts to stiffen up and loose its motion. The range of motion will reduce over the period. Pain is usually most in this stage.
The frozen stage: Shoulder mobility reduces and the shoulder becomes stiff and looses most of its motion. Movement of the shoulder becomes more and more difficult. Most shoulder pain typically diminishes.
The thawing stage: Mobility of the shoulder typically improves over time until the condition resolves.
Causes of frozen shoulder
Frozen shoulder is a condition that is not well understood. It has been suggested that frozen shoulder can its causes are multifactorial, however we do know populations that are more at risk. The following list are risk factors for developing frozen shoulder:
- Age: Individual over 40 are more likely to get frozen shoulder
- Sex: Females are more likely to get frozen shoulder
- Injury: People who have a rotator cuff injury, pathology or condition are more likely to get frozen shoulder
- Systemic disease: People who have diabetes, hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism cardiovascular diseases, tuberculosis or Parkinson’s disease are more likely to get frozen shoulder.
Treatment of frozen shoulder
At Sydney Spine & Sports Centre (S3C) chiropractic and physiotherapy treatments for frozen shoulder will typically be geared at reducing any pain, inflammation or irritation to the shoulder or nearby structures such as the neck. Mobility restoration and maintenance is a large focus and this is by done our chiropractors and physiotherapists using safe, gentle effective treatments such as range of motion exercises, directional preference exercises, and hands on treatments. It is worth remembering that true frozen shoulder is a self limiting condition and this means it will get better by itself typically within 18month on average. If you are experiencing reduced shoulder motion you will need to go to a chiropractor or physiotherapist that has a clinical focus and experience in the shoulder such as the chiropractors and physiotherapists at Sydney Spine & Sports Centre (S3C). This is because other conditions of the shoulder and rotator cuff can mimic frozen shoulder. Early diagnosis is the key to effective management of shoulder problems.
Please read these articles on common shoulder problems for greater understanding
- Shoulder pain overview
- Rotator cuff tear
- Biceps tendon tear in shoulder
- Chronic shoulder instability
- The unstable painful shoulder
- The weak painful shoulder
- The stiff painful shoulder
- Shoulder impingement
- Dislocated shoulder
- SLAP tears of the shoulder
- Arthritis of the shoulder
- Biceps tendinitis of the shoulder