What is Frozen Shoulder?
Adhesive Capsulitis / Frozen Shoulder is a condition affecting the tissue surrounding the shoulder known as the capsule. Adhesive Capsulitis, as the name suggests, is where the capsule becomes inflamed and sticky.
It most commonly affects those aged 40-60, is more likely in women than men (approx. 70% of patients are women!), with increased risks in those with diabetes and those with a history of previous frozen shoulder.
What causes frozen shoulder?
The exact cause of Frozen Shoulder is not entirely understood, and research unfortunately doesn’t lend much support for the use of physiotherapy. However, Frozen Shoulder can last for up to 2 years before resolving itself… so gentle movement and soft tissue therapy, such as massage, are very much advised to offset any further complications rather than to treat the frozen shoulder.
Symptoms of frozen shoulder
The first phase (Freezing) – 6 weeks to 6 months
The first and most painful phase of frozen shoulder. Shoulder movement becomes very limited as the capsule becomes thick and shrunken
The second phase (Frozen) – 4 months to 6 months.
The shoulder remains stiff but pain begins to reduce. Movement remains limited and neither yourself nor anyone else will be able to move it beyond a certain point
The third phase (Thawing) – 6 months to 2 years
The stiffness begins to slowly reduce, and the reduction in pain makes this phase more tolerable than the others. It can take a long time so it is important to begin work on stretching the joint capsule.
What can I do to relieve the symptoms of frozen shoulder?
1. Pendulum Exercise
Lean forward onto a fixed surface and support yourself with your unaffected arm. Begin by letting your affected arm hang and swing it gently 1) forwards and backward, 2) side to side, and 3) round in circles to encourage movement at joint without having to fight against gravity.
2. Sleeper Stretch
Lying on your side of the affected arm Place you arm so that your shoulder and elbow are level with your eyesight and make a stop sign with your hand Keeping the elbow where it is, use the other hand to slowly push the hand of the affected arm down towards the bed You should feel a stretch at the back of your shoulder
Passive Flexion in Lying
3. When lying flat, place both hands on your stomach and interlace your fingers Use your good arm to bring your affected arm straight up into the air Begin to take your affected arm above and behind your head as far as tolerated.
* ONLY use your good arm to move your affected arm * Keep your affected arm nice and relaxed
Sports massage can help aid the recovery of frozen shoulder by keeping the surrounding tissues loose and not allowing any postural imbalances to take hold.
Come and see one of our soft tissue experts. Simply click the link below and book online. Alternatively give us a call at your nearest location.
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