What Is Frozen Shoulder and How Can You Find Relief?

frozen shoulder Jan10th 2021

What is Frozen Shoulder?!

Frozen shoulder, or Adhesive Capsulitis, occurs when the structures of the shoulder joint become stiff and rigid – greatly impeding one’s range of motion and causing pain. Frozen shoulder is a progressive diagnosis that begins gradually with painful movements and progresses, limiting mobility as the capsule within the shoulder thickens and becomes restrictive. Frozen shoulder is known to follow three phases – Freezing, Frozen, and Thawing. The progression is typically slow – and the disease process can take up to three years to fully resolve.

Who is most likely to develop Frozen Shoulder?

While anyone can develop frozen shoulder – it is most commonly associated with women 40 years of age and older. Additionally, those who have recently undergone any injury requiring immobilization of the shoulder (ie. rotator cuff injury, fracture, or stroke).

The Freezing Stage:

During this phase – you will start to notice some pain with shoulder movement that progressively intensifies. Additionally, in this phase, you will begin to notice that your motion is limited – as you are will no longer be able to reach end-ranges as a result of tightened tissues within the shoulder joint. This phase will typically last anywhere from 6 to 9 weeks.

What I Can Do Now to Manage My Pain:

To manage your pain at home, you can utilize ice packs, electrical stimulation (TENS unit), or NSAIDs such as Ibuprofen or Tylenol (check with your doctor before taking any medications).

Don’t have any of the modalities listed above?

Check out ProTailored Physical Therapy’s Product Recommendations tab under the Patient Information section! There you will find our recommendations for Ice Packs and TENS Units.

What ProTailored Physical Therapy Can Do:

Our skilled Doctors of Physical and Occupational Therapy can provide you with manual services, such as mobilizations, muscle energy techniques, and so much more to ultimately relieve tension of the shoulder tissues, decrease pain, and maintain as much motion as possible. Additionally, our therapists will be able to provide you with exercises and stretches to maintain your range of motion at home.

The Frozen Stage:

During this phase – you will experience less pain, but greater restrictions in regard to your shoulder mobility. Functional utilization of your shoulder will be limited, as the joint becomes stiff and rigid. This phase can last anywhere between 6 months to 2 years.

What ProTailored Physical Therapy Can Do:

Therapy during the Frozen phase will look much like therapy did during the Freezing phase. Our therapists will continue to perform joint mobilizations as well as manual stretching and pain management techniques to better your mobility and functioning during this phase.

The Thawing Stage:

During this phase, the final phase – your range of motion will slowly begin to return as your pain and stiffness begin to diminish!

What ProTailored Physical Therapy Can Do:

During this phase – your therapists will take your treatment to the next level by increasing the intensity of joint mobilizations and manual stretches to get you back to doing the activities and hobbies that you love much quicker. Often, shoulder weakness and instability becomes problematic during this phase. Because of this, your treatment will begin to incorporate more exercises designed to strengthen the structures of the shoulder and decrease your chances of further injury. *If you believe you are experiencing pain as a result of any of the above diagnoses – please give ProTailored Physical Therapy a call today at 260-739-0300 to begin your road to recovery!