What is Frozen Shoulder or Adhesive Capsulitis?

Frozen shoulder, also known as adhesive capsulitis is when the shoulder capsule becomes inflamed and the fibrotic adhesions limit shoulder movement resulting in pain and stiffness.

There are three stages of the frozen shoulder symptoms

  1. Freezing: initially characterised by pain around the shoulder, it is them followed by progressive loss of range of movement
  2. Frozen: There is minimal pain with no further loss of range neither is there any gain in range of motion. Pain is noticeable usually at end range only.
  3. Thawing: There is a gradual return of range of movement and there would also be weakness due to disuse

 

 

Common symptoms of frozen shoulder

  • Difficulty/inability to tuck in shirt or wear a bra
  • Difficulty/inability to throw a ball
  • Difficulty/inability to reach above shoulder height
  • Difficulty/inability to sleep on affected side
  • Difficulty/inability to reach for objects quickly
  • Difficulty/inability to reach for seat belt or tie wrapper

 

There are factors which predispose certain people to frozen shoulder

  • Age between 40-65 years
  • Shoulder trauma
  • Surgery
  • Diabetes
  • Inflammatory conditions
  • Hyper thyroidism
  • Auto-immune disease
  • Cervical cancer

Treatment of frozen shoulder

Relief from adhesive capsulitis or frozen shoulder can take about 1 year till 3.5 years and is usually spontaneous in most cases. Despite its spontaneous resolution, it is advised that patient seek a combination of anti-inflammatory drugs and physiotherapy in its management as this would help prevent further complications from setting in.

It is essential that the physiotherapy process is not overzealous because this would further aggravate the symptoms. For instance if the range of motion is forced during the frozen stage, this would more harmful in the long run. Physiotherapy intervention would focus on pain management, range of motion and functional adaptation using tools of manipulation, soft tissue manipulation and electrotherapy.

If you have further questions, contact the PhysioCraft team on +2348035670888 or +2348171940921 and we would be happy to answer your questions for free.

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