Frozen Shoulder- Physiotherapy for Frozen Shoulder

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Frozen Shoulder- Physiotherapy for Frozen Shoulder

Description/ Introduction

Adhesive Capsulitis aka “Frozen Shoulder” is a condition that is caused by the thickening of the shoulder capsule –a sheath that encases the joint of the shoulder, thus restricting movement. The main symptoms of frozen shoulder are joint pain and stiffness that worsen over time. The Physios at our clinics aim to combat Adhesive Capsulitis and its symptoms by using a variety of treatment techniques and modalities to provide lasting long-term relief.

Clinical Signs and Symptoms

Frozen Shoulder often presents with symptoms such as:

  • Sharp pull or pain in the middle of upper arm on sudden movements, like a flash of lightening 
  • Difficulty raising your arm sideways or forwards or carrying objects.
  • Difficulty putting the arm behind your back. 
  • Pain in mid-range of shoulder movement 
  • Pain in shoulder lasting for more than a few days.
  • Swelling or significant bruising around the shoulder or arm
  • Shoulder pain that occurs at night or at rest, also disrupting normal sleep patterns

1. Freezing Stage

  • Duration: Lasts approximately 2 to 9 months.
  • Characteristics:
    • Pain takes center stage.
    • Any shoulder movement triggers discomfort.
    • Gradual loss of shoulder mobility.
    • Simple tasks such as fastening a seatbelt or reaching for a cup becomes difficult.

2. Frozen Stage

  • Duration: Persists for about 4 to 12 months.
  • Characteristics:
    • Pain may ease, but stiffness intensifies.
    • The shoulder resembles a rusted hinge, resisting movement.
    • Everyday activities like putting on a coat, combing hair become impossibly difficult.
    • Nocturnal discomfort/pain that disrupts sleep.

3. Thawing Stage

  • Duration: Gradual improvement over 5 to 24 months.
  • Characteristics:
    • The shoulder cautiously thaws, like a winter morning yielding to the sun.
    • Movement becomes less painful.
    • Range of motion gradually returns.
    • Patients regain the ability to reach overhead and perform daily tasks.

How Can Physiotherapy Help Frozen Shoulder Patients

Physical Therapy for Frozen Shoulder focuses on the management of symptoms present and reduction of pain and increasing available range of motion. Physiotherapy can help patients achieve decrease in pain/discomfort, improvement in muscle strength, return to activities of daily living, etc.

Services provided by Us:

Our physiotherapists will assess the painful area and treat the symptoms with a combination of techniques, some are as follows:

Physical therapy can help manage shoulder pain and aid in returning to normal everyday function. Our PTs are trained to provide relief by doing the following:

  • Laser Therapy and Ultrasound Therapy: Used for heating and promotes tissue healing.
  • Interferential Therapy: Stimulates the muscle and nerve fibers.
  • Shockwave Therapy: to relieve pain.
  • Exercise Therapy: Muscle Strengthening and Stretching and training to improve overall function.
  • Postural Training: for the best positions for weight bearing to reduce stress on the muscles and joints.
  • Education: Learning different techniques to perform daily activities even while being limited
  • Manual Therapy: Manual techniques such as trigger point release is beneficial in improving mobility and reduce pain.