Frozen shoulder, or adhesive capsulitis, causes pain and stiffness in the shoulder. Over time ,the shoulder can be hard to move and your function is impaired. Frozen shoulder occurs in about 20% of the population, most commonly between 40-60 years of age and is seen more commonly in females than males.
Symptoms of frozen shoulder include pain, stiffness and an eventual loss of motion in the shoulder joint.
While there is not known cause for frozen shoulder, it usually starts with an inflammatory process in the shoulder that eventually leads to pain and an inability to raise the arm fully overhead. Some conditions that can lead to a frozen shoulder include cervical disease of the neck, diabetes, hyperthyroidism, shoulder injury, or shoulder, breast or open heart surgery. It is not necessary to have one of these conditions to develop a frozen shoulder; it can occur to anyone.
What to expect from therapy
Manual therapy (hands on) techniques employed by a physical or occupational therapist provide relief of symptoms and promote realignment of tissues and structures that have been affected by poor joint mechanics, abnormal movement and poor posture. Modalities may be employed as needed to relax tight structures and allow for proper mobilization of the joint.
It is important for any person who has a frozen shoulder to have an exercise program guided by therapists who understand the limitations and special needs of this condition and who can address individual health conditions. Proper technique and follow through in skilled therapy is the key to increasing flexibility, reducing pain and building strength to restore normal shoulder mechanics and return to full function.
Most patients respond well to skilled therapeutic care and only if ignored can this condition escalate to surgical intervention.