Frozen Shoulder is an extremely painful condition in which the shoulder is completely or partially unmovable (stiff).
Frozen shoulder often starts out of the blue but may be triggered by a mild injury to the shoulder or shoulder surgery. The condition usually goes through three phases, starting with pain (Freezing phase), then stiffness (Frozen stage) and finally a stage of resolution (Thawing) as the pain eases and most of the movement returns. This process may take up to two or more years.
The lining of the shoulder joint, known as the ‘capsule’, is normally a very flexible elastic structure. Its looseness and elasticity allows the huge range of motion that the shoulder has. With a frozen shoulder this capsule (and its ligaments) becomes inflamed, swollen, red and contracted. The normal elasticity is lost and pain and stiffness develop.
A secondary frozen shoulder can also occur when there is an underlying change in the way some shoulder muscles (rotator cuff) are working or if a nerve from the neck has not been sending effective messages to the shoulder. As you have restricted movement of the arm, the capsule is not moved sufficiently and frozen shoulder symptoms develop.
Common complaints associated with the condition include difficulty sleeping on the affected shoulder, reaching actions and limited hand behind back movements, especially when dressing.
A primary frozen shoulder can get better on its own over many years. However, as the pain and restriction of movement can be very limiting of daily activities most people seek health care advice. The treatment required depends on the severity of the pain and stiffness. Physiotherapy to minimise further stiffness and help regain range of movement, medication for the pain, joint injections or surgery are among the options to consider in managing this condition.
In all the Physiotherapy can be very effective in treating frozen shoulder, so if the description above is familiar to you and you are experiencing problems then for some free advice or to book an appointment you can call 01952 462330, or email our team at firstname.lastname@example.org, or fill out a form on our Contact Page.