Frozen Shoulder

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What is frozen shoulder?

Frozen shoulder, also known as, adhesive capsulitis is characterized by shoulder stiffness, decreased range of motion, and pain. Symptoms usually start slowly and increase from there. There are two types of frozen shoulder. One type onsets with no known cause. While the second type can follow an injury or surgery to the region including a fall or mastectomy. 

The shoulder is composed on bones, ligaments, and tendon. This is all encapsulated in connective tissue- during frozen shoulder this capsule tightens down. As a result all movement is very painful. There is no known cause but prolonged disuse following surgery and diabetes have been linked to increase rates of frozen shoulder. 

What are symptoms of frozen shoulder?

Frozen shoulder often occurs in stages: 

1. Freezing : Any movement of shoulder is painful. Additionally, your range of motion becomes more restricted. 

2. Frozen: Pain with movement begins to decrease but your shoulder continues to stiffen and lose movement. 

3. Thawing: Pain continues to improve and range begins improving. 

Without therapy and conservative care- frozen shoulder sometimes can resolve itself but it takes 18 months to two years on average. With help from your physical therapy and chiropractic team- this timeline can be reduced. 

What can physical therapy or chiropractic care do to help?

A physical therapist can formally evaluate you and where your shoulder is related to above stages of frozen shoulder. In the freezing stage, the physical therapist can help you with pain management and techniqueto best maintain range of motion of the shoulder. Once you enter the frozen stage, more exercises will be implemented in order to strengthen and continue addressing range of motion through stretching. Additionally, the therapist can perform stretching and different technique to help with this mobility. And finally, as you enter and exit the thawing stage the physical therpist and chiropractor may help in addressing posture and continue strengthening in order to decrease decrease at the shoulder.