Frozen Shoulder

What is frozen shoulder?

A frozen shoulder (or adhesive capsulitis) is when the capsule around the shoulder joint thickens and becomes inflamed, causing pain and stiffness in the shoulder region. Night pain is a key symptom.

Why does it happen?

Generally, frozen shoulder is a progressive degenerative condition which occurs over a long period of time, even though the symptoms can come on quite suddenly. To describe all the events that lead up to the condition, is quite detailed and a huge subject.

Briefly however, tendons in the upper arm around the humerus bone tighten over time, and weaken muscles around the shoulder, which gradually restricts movement of the shoulder. Once all tendons have tightened it seriously impedes the movement of the shoulder and the capsule surrounding it becomes inflamed.

An injury to the shoulder which immobilses it for a while can lead to frozen shoulder. This is the most common way to get it if you are an active person. Bad posture can also contribute to it. People with diabetes, cardiac disease or post-operation are more likely to suffer from frozen shoulder.

Is there anything I can do to prevent frozen shoulder?

Because of the lack of symptoms until the condition is in an advanced stage, it can be difficult to prevent. However, bear in mind the following:

  • If you drive for long periods of time, or sit in the same position, ensure you open up your shoulders and stretch them at home regularly to help prevent the tendons from tightening up
  • Be aware of your posture at all times, people with rounded shoulders tend to suffer from frozen shoulder
  • If you injure your shoulder, be aware of keeping your shoulder as mobile as possible. If you don’t get a full range of motion back quickly, consider getting some treatment from us to try and prevent frozen shoulder from developing

What can Corsham Physiotherapy do to help frozen shoulder?

Massage, manipulation of the back, and medical acupuncture have all been proven to be successful in treating frozen shoulder, by easing the pain and increasing the range of motion of the shoulder. We also use medical electricity (electrotherapy) in most cases to reduce the inflammatory products deep in the shoulder tendons.

If bad posture is the cause of your frozen shoulder, we can address this and we will help you to correct it.

If you would like to make an appointment or talk to one of our friendly Chartered Physiotherapists about your condition please contact us.