Frozen Shoulder

Frozen Shoulder

Osteopathy for Frozen Shoulder

Frozen shoulder is the commonly used term for a condition known as Adhesive Capsulitis. It is a fairly disabling condition in which the fibrous capsule surrounding the shoulder joint becomes thickened and inflamed causing long-term pain and severe restriction. 

What are the symptoms?

The main characteristics of a frozen shoulder are a build-up of pain and stiffness in your shoulder joint – for no apparent reason – which gradually worsens over time.  At its worst your shoulder can become extremely stiff and uncomfortable and the symptoms are typically worse at night.

Thankfully frozen shoulder is reasonably rare and it is often misdiagnosed.  A diagnosis of ‘frozen shoulder’ often turns out to be more of a Rotator Cuff problem which can be a more straight-forward condition to manage.

On average, frozen shoulder lasts around 18 months in total and generally follows a three-stage pattern – each phase lasting around 6 months:

1 – Freezing Phase

This is the most painful period where the inflammation is at its height.  Your shoulder will become increasingly restricted and all movements are likely to cause pain.

2 – Frozen Phase

During this phase the pain starts to decrease as the inflammation dies down, however the shoulder remains extremely restricted.

3 – Defrosting Phase

This is the final stage of the condition, where the restriction starts to ease and the shoulder begins to return to normal.

What are the causes?

Strangely there is no known cause of frozen shoulder although it is thought sometimes to be triggered by trauma, injury or possibly even stress.  It can also follow a period of immobility or restriction such as post surgery or a stroke.

Diabetes is a known risk-factor and frozen shoulder is more common in people over 40 years of age, particularly women.

How is it treated?

Our management of this painful and restrictive condition depends on which phase you are at:

1 – Freezing Phase

During this most painful phase of the condition, our aims are to gently stretch and articulate the joint, encouraging blood-flow and healing and reducing inflammation.

2 – Frozen Phase

As pain levels start to decrease, management at this stage involves a lot of mobilisation and stretching out of the joint, increasing its function and range of movement.

3 – Defrosting Phase

During the final phase, along with continuing to work on mobility, we aim to strengthen the weakened muscles of the shoulder in order to return it to its full strength and function.

Our clinic located within Chatteris covers areas including March, Ely, Wisbech, Huntingdon, St Ives & Whittlesey and beyond.

Want to know more?

Contact us now to book a FREE 15-minute chat with one of our expert practitioners to see if we could help with your shoulder problem.

Need help? Call us on 01354 694050 or book online here