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What is 'Frozen Shoulder'?

Posted by Douglas W. Stoddard MD, M Sp Med, Dip Sport Med, ES on 19 June 2017
What is 'Frozen Shoulder'?
Frozen shoulder is a condition in which the general motion of your shoulder is restricted in all movements and is accompanied by nagging pain. The reason these symptoms begin is generally unknown. 

Pain and loss of movement are a result of irritation to the structures that make up the shoulder joint, specifically the shoulder joint capsule.

Why Me?

Some conditions, including diabetes, thyroid disease, and auto-immune disease, increases the risk of developing frozen shoulder. In general, most people with frozen shoulder are over the age of 50. 

What to Expect:

There are 3 stages to the condition:

  • Painful Stage: This is usually when your pain first occurs and you begin to notice your shoulder does not move well. It can last anywhere from 2-9 months.
  • Frozen Stage: Your pain may actually decrease from when you first noticed it. However, you will notice the motion in your shoulder continues to decline. This stage can last anywhere from 4-12 months.
  • Thawing Stage: The motion in your shoulder starts improving in all directions. This stage can last anywhere from several months to a few years.

What Can I Do if I Have Frozen Shoulder?

There is strong evidence & research supporting the use of the following forms of treatment:

  • Joint mobilisations
  • Stretching & home exercise programs
  • Acupuncture
  • Injections
  • Modalities: heat & electrotherapy

However, it's important to note that the latest literature suggests there is no strong and conclusive evidence in favour of one form of treatment over another. It is therefore essential to get a thorough assessment by an experienced clinician to determine the best course of treatment for you.

General Rule of Thumb: Movement and Exercise!

Regardless of which stage of frozen shoulder you find yourself in, prolonged rest and avoidance of activity is rarely recommended. Exercise and movement is one of the most effective ways in decreasing prolonged stiffness and pain resulting from frozen shoulder.

As the saying goes...if you don't use it, you lose it!

Frozen shoulder is a very frustrating and debilitating condition which can affect a person both physically and emotionally.

Our team at SEMI are all expert professionals here to help you through your journey of recovery. Consult any of our expert physicians or therapists to see what may be the best form of treatment for yourself!


NEW AT SEMI: We now offer Online Booking! Making appointments with our SEMI doctors and personal trainers has never been easier with our simple, step-by-step booking system. Choose the type of service you're looking for, the length of your session, and your SEMI professional for your preferred date and time in just minutes - book online today!

Author: Douglas W. Stoddard MD, M Sp Med, Dip Sport Med, ES
About: Dr. Douglas Stoddard is a sports medicine physician and is the Medical Director of the Sports & Exercise Medicine Institute (SEMI). After receiving his medical degree from the University of Toronto, he trained in Australia at the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra, obtaining his Master Degree in Sports Medicine. He is also a diplomat of the Canadian Academy of Sport and Exercise Medicine and has his focussed practice designation in Sport Medicine from the Ontario Medical Association. Dr. Stoddard is a consultant to the Canadian Military and has consulted with well over 30,000 unique patients in his career. Dr. Stoddard is constantly searching for new and promising therapies to help SEMI patients, and is responsible for developing the RegenerVate Medical Injection Therapy Program. He is married and the proud father of two boys, is an avid triathlete and occasional guitar player.
Tags: Prevention Upper body Treatment options


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