What is Frozen Shoulder?
Frozen shoulder or adhesive capsulitis is a very painful condition that greatly affects the movement of your shoulder. With some patients, frozen shoulder may get better over a period of 18-24 months. In other cases, symptoms can persist for several years.
Studies suggest that about 50% of people with frozen shoulder continue to experience symptoms up to seven years after the condition starts. However, with appropriate treatment it is possible to shorten the period of disability.
What causes frozen shoulder?
It is not known exactly what causes Frozen shoulder and it can spontaneously occur for no apparent reason. Frozen shoulder causes the shoulder joints fibrous capsule which provides its stability to become inflamed and thickened. It is not fully understood why this happens, although there are a number of things that make developing a frozen shoulder more likely:
- Thyroid issues
- A previous shoulder injury: Calcific tendonitis or and rotator cuff tear.
How do I Treat frozen shoulder
The aim of treatment is to keep your joint as mobile and pain free as possible while your shoulder heals. The type of treatment you receive will depend on how severe your frozen shoulder is and how far it has progressed.
- The first stage of a frozen shoulder is the most painful stage. Therefore, treatment is mainly focussed on relieving the pain and reducing the swelling in the capsule.
- Consult your GP who may prescribe painkillers (paracetamol) and anti-inflammatories (neurofen).
- Avoid stretches that make the pain worse but continue to move the shoulder as much as possible.
- We use a combination or Active Release Technique (ART) and Medical Acupuncture to help reduce the pain and initiate movement back into the muscles.
- We also provide a functional prescription of exercises based on the patients capabilities to reintroduce movement into the shoulder.
- Corticosteroid injections: If you have severe frozen shoulder, painkillers may not be enough to control the pain. If this is the case, it may be possible to have a corticosteroid injection in your shoulder joint.Surgery: It is uncommon to need surgery for frozen shoulder but it may be recommended if your symptoms are severe, causing significant problems and other treatments have not worked after six months. If this is the case, you may be referred to an orthopaedic surgeon. There are two possible surgical procedures; Manipulation Under Anaesthetic (MUA) or Arthroscopic Capsular Release (ACR).