A frozen shoulder progresses through three stages

WHAT is frozen shoulder?

Also known as adhesive capsulitis. It is an inflammatory condition of the ball and socket joint where the capsule tightens and greatly restricts shoulder range of movement.

How does frozen shoulder occur?

The causes for a frozen shoulder are not clearly defined, it often happens spontaneously, occurs in people between the ages of 40-60 and occurs more in women. It can occur after a fracture, surgery or trauma.

A frozen shoulder progresses through three stages, usually over one to two years.

The initial "freezing" stage is painful and range of movement starts to become restricted.

It's often painful at night and can stop you from getting a good sleep.

In the second or "frozen" stage your shoulder movement will be very restricted but pain should reduce.

In the third and final "thawing" stage your range of movement will gradually improve.

People who have conditions such as diabetes and thyroid disorders are also more likely to get adhesive capsulitis.

What we can do to fix it!

Unfortunately treatment for frozen shoulder is limited.

Physiotherapy aims to minimise pain as well as maintain as much range of motion, strength and function as possible.

During the "thawing phase" physiotherapy becomes more important as range of motion and strength needs to be restored.

Specific exercises:

Specific stretching to maintain and improve range of movement of the shoulder joint.

A progressive strengthening program of muscles surrounding the shoulder and shoulder blade to correct abnormal movement patterns and stop secondary injuries to the tendons.

Soft tissue release: to decrease spasm in the muscles surrounding the shoulder.

Joint mobilisations: to increase range of movement and decrease pain in your shoulder.

To find out more on frozen shoulder, see the physiotherapists at Active Physio Health, Gladstone. Please call 4972 5155, or visit the website www.activephysiohealth.com.au. Active Physio Health has been providing physiotherapy and exercise prescription services to Gladstone for the past seven years.

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