Frozen shoulder (also known as ‘adhesive capsulitis’) is a condition that leads to pain and stiffness around the shoulder joint. Movement of the shoulder is restricted especially movements like raising your arm above the head, or reaching behind your back to put on a shirt.
Mostly occurring in women aged 35-60 years old, it happens when the capsule around the shoulder joint gets inflamed, thickens, and tightens. It is also possible to have a frozen shoulder from scar tissues as a result of a previous shoulder injury. Without proper rehabilitation, the scar tissues may cause the shoulder capsule to thicken, eventually limiting the movement of the shoulder.
Individuals who have been diagnosed with diabetes, hyper/hypothyroidism, cardiovascular diseases, chronic obstructive or other lung diseases are more at risk to develop frozen shoulders.
Someone suffering from frozen shoulder often finds it hard to move their arms due to the stiffness/tightness, further affecting their normal range of shoulder movements. Having a frozen shoulder can make performing simple everyday tasks challenging like washing or combing hair, dressing, driving and it can also disrupt sleep.
To help identify the severity of an individuals’ frozen shoulder condition, our team at Spinefit will assess the condition as follows:
Painful around the joint, stiffness and restricted movement gradually increase.
Pain is slowly decreasing but stiffness and limitation in movement remains or might get worse. Muscles around the shoulder may go wasting as they are not used.
Pain and stiffness slowly eases and movement gradually begins to improve.
Physiotherapy is important to prevent further wasting of muscles around the shoulder joint due to poor movement. If muscles waste further, it makes regaining movement of the shoulder back difficult.
At Spinefit, we treat individuals with frozen shoulder(s) using either a combination of extracorporeal shockwave therapy (ESWT) to promote healing, active physiotherapy/rehabilitation to encourage recovery through the 3 phases, and/or in some cases dry needling (we will have more information on this treatment soon).
Depending on the severity of the condition and the cause of frozen shoulder, we would also advise to have a session with a chiropractor to assess whether regular adjustments are needed for recovery.
Some General Practitioners may prescribe painkillers, corticosteroid injections and in some extreme cases, surgery. However, at Spinefit we do not prescribe any medication; and our treatments are non-invasive in nature.
The most common cause of frozen shoulders are an injury to the shoulders (e.g. falls on an outstretched hand or on the shoulder, getting hit on the shoulder), triggering the inflammatory response. Having good strength in the shoulders and midback can help to minimise the chances of it happening in case an accident like a fall does happen.
With the additional component of active physiotherapy/rehabilitation exercises and therapy, Practice Members who have kept to their recommended programmes have seen great improvements to their frozen shoulder condition. In some cases where the combination of treatments previously mentioned are not sufficient, the rehab specialist may introduce dry needling into the treatment programme.
We have seen fantastic results from our approach we have towards our Practice Members’ frozen shoulder treatments. If you are someone who’s having a severe frozen shoulder condition, make an appointment with our team for a consultation and assessment today. Do not let this condition affect your quality of life.