Frozen shoulder is a condition in which the shoulder joint capsule becomes irritated, restricting the range-of-motion and causing debilitating pain and stiffness. While it’s quite a common condition, the specific causes of frozen shoulder are largely unknown. Thankfully, a wide variety of therapeutic options are available to help treat this condition.
Although anyone can develop frozen shoulder, certain groups are more at-risk than others. People diagnosed with diabetes, thyroid disease, and auto-immune diseases are at an increased risk of developing frozen shoulder. Age can also be a risk factor; most people with frozen shoulder are over the age of 50.
What to Expect:
There are 3 stages of 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 range-of-motion in your shoulder continues to decline. This stage can last anywhere from 4-12 months.
- Thawing Stage: The range-of-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
- 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 are some of the most effective ways to decrease the prolonged stiffness and resolve the pain caused by 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.
Sports & Exercise Medicine Institute is the leading sports medicine, physiotherapy, and chiropractic clinic in the Greater Toronto Area. We offer expert diagnoses, a variety of treatment options, and high-quality care. Click here to learn more about the services we offer, or contact us to schedule an appointment.