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Patient Education

Fixing Your Frozen Shoulder: How Physiotherapy Can Help

Frozen Shoulder A frozen shoulder or Adhesive Capsulitis is an ailment that results in chronic pain, stiffness and loss of movement in the shoulder. It is a relatively common disorder most frequently diagnosed in women between the ages of 40-60 years.

Your shoulder is a vital part of your body that offers you the most varied and flexible degree of motion. Any stiffness or pain in this joint can have an adverse effect on your lifestyle preventing you from performing most basic of everyday activities like lifting and reaching overhead. Therefore any pain or injury in the shoulder should not be overlooked and must be examined by a qualified Physiotherapist as soon as possible.

Here’s closer look at the causes and the best treatment for a frozen shoulder:

What causes a Frozen Shoulder?

Although most patients develop a frozen shoulder following a distressing injury to the joint, like tendinitis or bursitis of the rotator cuff, there is no definitive cause for this ailment. People suffering from diabetes (almost 10-20% of diabetic patients are prone to develop a frozen shoulder), heart conditions also have a high susceptibility to this disorder.

Immobility of the shoulder joint usually results in a patient developing Adhesive Capsulitis. This is because when your shoulder is restrained, the tissue surrounding the Glenohumeral joint contracts and becomes stiff. To avoid this pain, the range of motion becomes further restricted resulting in the formation of adhesions around the head of the Humerus and Glenohumeral joint. To understand the anatomy of your shoulder and how it develops these adhesions better, refer our insightful patient education section.

How can Physiotherapy help?

A frozen shoulder develops in three different stages. A Physical Therapist (PT) examines the condition of your ailment and provides the best treatment for a frozen shoulder depending on the stage it has advanced to. The 3 stages are:

  • Freezing

This is the initial stage of development. It is punctuated by constant pain and a loss of movement in the joint.

  • Frozen

It is an advanced stage of the disorder where the pain minimizes but the range of motion becomes highly restricted.

  • Thawing

This is an early stage of recuperation where the range of motion is restored gradually but the muscles are weakened due to disuse.

Physiotherapy helps in providing pain relief at each stage of recovery and ensures complete rehabilitation and restoration of strength in your muscles.

  • A PT uses different techfrozen shoulderniques including acupuncture, dry needling and massage therapy to provide pain relief to your sore muscles.
  • He uses shoulder joint mobilization exercises and muscle release techniques to restore the maximum range of motion to your shoulder.
  • He also uses a wide range of exercises to strengthen your muscles and restore healthy muscle mass to your weakened shoulder.

Beyond rehabilitation, a physiotherapist can also help you improve your alignment and balance and provide you a detailed list of activities that you need to avoid doing in order to prevent your condition from worsening. An experienced PT can also help you devise a schedule that avoids the recurrence of similar injuries in the future. If you are experiencing constant pain in your shoulder or have suffered a recent injury around this particular region, contact a physiotherapist today.