What is frozen shoulder?

Namrata. July 19, 2022

You might have heard somebody close to you, such as family or friends complaining about a Frozen Shoulder and how difficult it is to sleep. But have you ever wondered what a Frozen Shoulder actually is? It’s a really common problem that we see in our Physiotherapy Clinics in Maidstone and Sittingbourne.

Well, if you ever have wondered about this and have questions, then read on! There is so much information about this condition on the internet that it can be overwhelming and you wouldn’t know where to look. It is a condition that can have a negative impact on your Mental Health and is painful. In my blog, I want to give an overview and tell you how you can manage Frozen Shoulder and how to facilitate recovery.

What is Frozen Shoulder (Adhesive capsulitis)?

The first signs are that the shoulder becomes painful, stiff and your range of movement worsens over the course of time. It usually occurs on one side and comes on slowly.

The main difficulties you would experience would be the ability to carry out routine everyday tasks such as washing your hair, putting your hand behind your back to scratch or do up a bra or reaching up to higher shelves. If you were to really take close notice of this, you would notice a subtle difference in the stiffness that you feel in your shoulder. If you were to move your shoulder in a certain direction, you would find that it would be painful, whereas moving your shoulder behind you (and extending your arm) would be less painful or even pain-free

There are 4 stages of Frozen Shoulder :

Stage 1.Usually, a gradual onset of pain in your shoulder. There would not be much stiffness and your movement would not be restricted, but you may find that you get a sharp pain with certain movements and it would be painful to sleep on the same side. Generally, this stage lasts less than 3 months.

Stage 2.Freezing stage: The pain becomes more severe, particularly at night. You also start to experience stiffness and restrictions in movements such as lifting your arm forward at the side and taking your hand back. This stage usually lasts for 3-6 months.

Stage 3.Frozen stage: At this stage, the shoulder is very restricted and the night stiffness continues. This stage usually lasts between 6-15 months.

Stage 4.Thawing stage: The pain becomes less severe and you would find movement in your shoulder improving. It generally takes from a few months to up to 4 years to regain mobility in the shoulder after suffering with frozen shoulder.

Will my shoulder ever get back to normal?

The answer is YES!!! The prognosis for Frozen Shoulder is good. With conservative management such as exercises and pain medication Frozen Shoulder heals and your shoulder would be able to regain most of its function. Steroid Injections are also a really good way to treat these, so please look at the blog about this, or download the information pack from our website.

So, how would I manage my Frozen Shoulder?

Most Frozen Shoulders get treated for the symptoms that they cause (pain), but not for the underlying cause.

Conservative management helps shorten recovery time and regain mobility in your shoulder with no pain.

Physiotherapy exercises play a really important role in regaining your mobility. Gentle stretching exercises for the shoulder help keep the shoulder mobile and also help to reduce the stiffness and restrictions within the joint. Together with the stretches, additional exercises are provided to help with the strengthening of the muscles around the shoulder and shoulder blade.

Steroid injections, which are advised in Stages 1 & 2, have also been shown to improve your prognosis, recovery and provide pain relief.

If you have tried all of the above stages, then you might be an unfortunate person who requires surgery.

Understanding Frozen Shouder and knowing how to manage it help you to better understand the condition. If you want to know more, then please do not hesitate to contact us and we would be happy to talk you through this in more detail.

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