What is a frozen shoulder?
Frozen shoulder or adhesive capsulitis is a condition that affects the shoulder joint and manifests itself as shoulder pain and stiffness within the joint that can last as long as 1 to 3 years! In the syndrome of frozen shoulder, there is a thickening and swelling of the joint capsule, which causes considerable pain and greatly reduces the range of movement in the joint itself. Since the shoulder joint is the most mobile joint in the human body, the thickening of its capsule will also cause a serious deficit in the functioning of the entire arm. The lack of hand function will cause a major problem in the daily functioning of the patient at work and other daily duties and activities.
There are 3 stages of Frozen Shoulder Syndrome:
- The stage of " freezing” - the stage in which a pronounced pain in the shoulder develops during movement, which gets worse with time and is stronger at night, the first stage can last 6 to 9 months
- Frozen shoulder phase-the pain decreases, but the movement in the shoulder becomes less and less, there is an inability to perform daily activities, this phase can last 4 to 12 months
- The "thaw" phase – the movement in the shoulder returns to the normal range and the pain decreases significantly, the last stage can last 6 months to a year
Symptoms and diagnosis of frozen shoulder
- shoulder pain that increases when moving
- shoulder pain that increases during sleep
- reduced mobility of the shoulder joint
- inability to perform daily activities due to pain and limited mobility
- medical history - to determine if there is an older injury or deficit in the shoulder joint area
- clinical examination - a medical doctor or physiotherapist will perform a detailed examination of the shoulder joint to determine the level of pain and whether there is a deficit in shoulder movement
- X-ray – is done to determine if there are other problems in the shoulder joint such as arthritis or bone fracture
- MRI or ultrasound - show a detailed examination of soft tissues to determine whether there is a rupture in the rotator cuff muscles
Physical therapy and rehabilitation
Goals of physical therapy in frozen shoulder:
- reduce / eliminate shoulder pain
- increase the quality of sleep with a decrease in nighttime shoulder pain
- increase the range of movement in the shoulder joint
- restore normal shoulder function
- return to everyday activities without pain and with normal shoulder joint movement
- dry needling - serves to relax the musculature of the shoulder girdle with which we consequently increase the range of movement and reduce pain in the shoulder, it also stimulates the regeneration process in the shoulder joint
- medical flossing - special rubber bands make compression on the shoulder joint with which we restore the range of movement and reduce pain in the shoulder
- cupping - with the achedaway cupping device we soothe inflammation, stimulate local circulation and reduce pain in the shoulder joint
- myofascial release - by releasing the fascia we achieve greater mobility and free movement of the shoulder joint
- kinesiotaping - serves as an auxiliary technique to maintain and enhance the effects of dry needling, medical flossing, cupping, myofascial relaxation and therapeutic exercises
- mobility exercises - used to increase the flexibility and mobility of the shoulder joint and establish the normal joint function
- strength exercises - develop the strength of the shoulder girdle muscles and prevent the recurrence of frozen shoulder
Frequently asked questions about frozen shoulder:
As you can see at the beginning of the page where we explain what exactly a frozen shoulder is, the shoulder problem with this diagnosis can last up to 3 years!
If you do not want to “drag” this problem for so long, we would advise you to visit a physiotherapist as soon as possible.
Every patient and every problem is completely individual. When one patient may need 2 therapies to resolve the problem, another may need 5 therapies for the same diagnosis.
In order to know more about your problem and prognosis, we need to examine you and perform the first treatment.
At the end of the therapy, we give you detailed instructions on what exercises you need to do and how to perform them to prevent the return of Frozen Shoulder Syndrome.
If you exercise regularly and keep your shoulder joint in optimal mobility and the shoulder girdle muscles in optimal strength, the problem should not return.