frozen shoulder

Frozen Shoulder (Adhesive Capsulitis)

What is Frozen Shoulder?

Frozen shoulder, also known as adhesive capsulitis, is a condition that limits the movement of the shoulder and can be painful. Frozen shoulder happens when the shoulder joint capsule comprised of connective tissues gets thickened and tightened. It is quite unclear why frozen shoulder happens to some people. However, there seems to be a finding that it is more common in people who have kept the shoulder still for a prolonged period, such as after a shoulder operation.

Who is at risk?

  1.  Age – between 40 to 60 years old
  2. Gender – More common in women than men.
  3. Recent shoulder operation
  4.  Immobility secondary to shoulder injury
  5. People with diabetes or other endocrine issues such as thyroid problems
  6. People with Cardiovascular disease (high blood pressure, high cholesterol or history of heart issues)

What are the common symptoms

Symptoms of frozen shoulder can vary as it has three stages.

  • The “freezing stage” (stage 1) – Any shoulder movement may cause pain, and movement becomes limited in this stage, and the pain can be worsened at night. This stage typically can last from 2 to 9 months.
  • The “frozen” stage (stage 2) – Pain may improve in this stage, but the shoulder remains or may become stiffer. Using the shoulder to complete daily tasks can be more difficult. This stage can last from 2 to 6 months.
  • The “thawing” stage (stage 3) – Pain further improves, and shoulder movement gradually improves over time. The recovery can be full or near full as strength and range of motion return. This stage can last from 6 months to 2 years.

How do you treat frozen shoulder?

The physiotherapy treatment goal varies between stages. In the freezing stage, pain relief is the focus of the treatment. Physiotherapists may use manual techniques such as gentle shoulder mobilisation or muscle-releasing techniques to help with the pain. In the frozen stage, the aim is to regain the range of motion and strength of the shoulder. In the final thawing stage, the goal remains similar to the previous stage but incorporates more intense exercises to strengthen and maintain the range of motion.

If you want a tailored treatment plan for your shoulder, please contact our experienced physiotherapy team to start your recovery!