Frozen Shoulder (Adhesive Capsulitis)

Frozen Shoulder (Adhesive Capsulitis)


Frozen Shoulder

A Physiotherapist’s Insight

What is Frozen Shoulder?

Frozen shoulder, medically known as adhesive capsulitis, is a condition causing significant shoulder pain and affects between 2% and 5% of people, mainly those aged 40 to 60. It’s more common in women, affecting around 70% of those diagnosed. This condition differs from rotator cuff injuries by presenting a unique pattern of symptoms: severe pain, loss of function, and eventual stiffness. It involves inflammation and fibrotic adhesions in the shoulder capsule, restricting movement.

Recent studies suggest various potential triggers for frozen shoulder, including health conditions like diabetes and thyroid disorders. For instance, diabetics have a 10 to 38% chance of developing this condition. Post-surgical patients are also at risk, highlighting the need for careful post-operative care.

Stages of Frozen Shoulder

Frozen shoulder progresses through three stages:

  1. Freezing Phase: Lasting 3 to 9 months, this stage causes pain and reduced movement. Aggressive treatments should be avoided at this time.
  2. Frozen Phase: This 9 to 15-month period involves increased stiffness. Transitioning between the first and second phases can be particularly painful.
  3. Thawing Phase: Over 15 to 24 months, movement gradually returns. Tailored physiotherapy interventions are most beneficial in this stage, focusing on pain relief initially and then restoring range of motion.

Diagnosing Frozen Shoulder

Diagnosis involves a clinical assessment where difficulties in reaching overhead, throwing, or moving the arm behind the back are noted. A specific capsular pattern of stiffness is often present. Imaging, such as X-rays or MRI, aids in confirming the diagnosis.

Risk Factors

People between 40 to 60 years old are at higher risk, with conditions like shoulder trauma, surgery, diabetes, inflammatory and autoimmune diseases, and thyroid disorders increasing susceptibility. Notably, 20% of individuals with frozen shoulder in one arm may develop it in the other.

Frozen Shoulderadhesive Capsulitis
Forzen Shoulder (Adhesive Capsulitis)

Effective Treatment Approaches

Treatment varies by stage:

  • Freezing Stage: Focuses on pain relief and ruling out other causes. Early intracapsular hydrocortisone injections can be beneficial.
  • Frozen Stage: Gentle mobilisation, muscle release, acupuncture, dry needling, and exercises are key for regaining range and strength. Overly aggressive activities should be avoided.
  • Thawing Stage: Physiotherapy becomes more effective with mobilisations, stretches, and exercises tailored to restore full movement.

Surgery, often a last resort, can improve stiffness by up to 80% when combined with physiotherapy.

Prevention Strategies

Prevention centres on avoiding prolonged shoulder inactivity, particularly after surgery or injury. Managing underlying health conditions like diabetes and thyroid disorders is also crucial.

Conclusion and Call to Action

Frozen shoulder, while challenging, can be effectively managed with the right approach. If you’re experiencing symptoms or fall into a higher risk category, consult a professional physiotherapist for tailored advice and treatment.

Shoulder Pain FAQs & Products

Common Shoulder Pain & Injury Conditions

Shoulder problems are a common source of discomfort and disability, affecting individuals of all ages and lifestyles. The shoulder joint, one of the most mobile joints in the human body, is prone to various issues arising from injuries, overuse, or underlying conditions.

Common shoulder problems include: rotator cuff tears, shoulder impingement, frozen shoulder (adhesive capsulitis), shoulder instability, and arthritis.

These conditions can result in symptoms such as pain, stiffness, weakness, limited range of motion, and difficulty performing everyday activities.

Early diagnosis and appropriate treatment, which may involve physiotherapy, medications, injections, or in some cases, surgery, can help alleviate the pain and restore function to the shoulder joint.

Rotator Cuff

Adhesive Capsulitis

Shoulder Bursitis

Shoulder Instability

Acromioclavicular Joint

Bone Injuries

Post-Operative Physiotherapy

Muscle Conditions

Systemic Conditions

Referred Pain

Shoulder Products & FAQs

Shoulder Pain FAQs

Your Comprehensive Guide to Understanding and Managing Shoulder Injuries

Welcome to the "Shoulder Pain FAQs" page, your go-to resource for understanding various aspects of shoulder pain, injuries, and how to manage them effectively. The shoulder is a complex joint that allows for a wide range of movements, but it is also susceptible to various injuries and conditions that can cause discomfort and limitations in daily activities.

In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the most common shoulder injuries, their causes, and how to identify and treat them. We'll also address frequently asked questions about specific shoulder conditions, providing you with valuable insights into your shoulder health.

When Should You Worry About Shoulder Pain?

Shoulder pain can be caused by numerous factors, ranging from minor strains to more severe injuries. Knowing when to seek medical attention is crucial to prevent further damage and facilitate timely recovery.

More info: When Should You Worry About Shoulder Pain?

6 Common Shoulder Injuries

We'll swing into six of the most prevalent shoulder injuries, shedding light on their causes, symptoms, and appropriate treatment options.

More info: 6 Common Shoulder Injuries

What Causes Shoulder Pain?

Understanding the root causes of shoulder pain is fundamental to addressing the issue effectively. We'll explore the various factors that can lead to shoulder discomfort and how to mitigate them.

More info: What Causes Shoulder Pain?

What is Your Scapulohumeral Rhythm?

The scapulohumeral rhythm plays a vital role in shoulder function and movement. We'll explain what it is and its significance in maintaining a healthy shoulder.

Rotator Cuff: An In-Depth Analysis

The rotator cuff is a critical group of muscles and tendons in the shoulder. We'll dive into its anatomy, functions, and common problems associated with it.

Identifying a torn rotator cuff can be challenging, but we'll provide you with essential signs to look out for and when to seek professional evaluation.

Find out about diagnostic methods for a torn rotator cuff, including whether an MRI is always necessary for accurate diagnosis.

Discover the limitations and challenges you may face if you have a torn rotator cuff and how to manage arm movement during the healing process.

Learn about the possible relationship between a torn rotator cuff and shoulder blade pain, and what it indicates about your shoulder health.

Cortisone injections are sometimes used for shoulder pain, but their effectiveness in treating a torn rotator cuff is a point of interest we'll explore.

We'll provide practical tips and strategies to aid in the healing process of a torn rotator cuff and restore shoulder function more rapidly.

Shoulder Bursitis: Understanding the Condition

What is shoulder bursitis, and how does it differ from other shoulder injuries? Get insights into this inflammatory condition and how to manage it.

Recognising the distinct symptoms of shoulder bursitis can assist in early detection and prompt treatment.

Shoulder Impingement: Causes and Solutions

Understand the concept of the shoulder impingement zone and the factors contributing to rotator cuff impingement and bursitis.

Frozen Shoulder: Overcoming the Stiffness

Discover how to unfreeze a frozen shoulder and regain a full range of motion through effective therapeutic approaches.

Shoulder Dislocation/Instability: Seeking Stability

Explore the causes of shoulder dislocation and instability, and the fastest ways to promote healing and prevent future occurrences.

Find out about treatment options to address shoulder instability and regain stability in the joint.

AC Joint: Identifying and Managing Injuries

Learn how to recognise an injured AC joint and what steps to take for proper care and recovery.

Swimmers Shoulder: Causes and Remedies

If you're a swimmer or engage in repetitive overhead activities, understanding the causes of swimmer's shoulder and how to prevent it is essential.

We hope this comprehensive guide will prove invaluable in your journey to understand and manage shoulder pain and injuries. However, it's essential to consult a healthcare professional for personalised advice and treatment based on your specific condition. Let's dive into the world of shoulder health together!

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