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What is Frozen Shoulder?

February 5, 2015
what is a frozen shoulder

A frozen shoulder is a condition characterized by inflammation, scarring and tightening of the connective tissue surrounding the shoulder joint, usually resulting in pain and a loss of movement. The exact cause is not known. It can occur after an injury to the shoulder, after a period of immobility, or it can occur spontaneously.

Frozen_ShoulderFrozen shoulders most commonly occur in people over 40 years of age and typically affect women more commonly than men. People with auto-immune conditions or diabetes are at a greater risk as well.

Frozen shoulder?can be divided into 3 phases, each of which can last a number of months:

  1. Pain
    The shoulder typically becomes painful with most movements, and at night time, and may start to stiffen during this phase.
  2. Freezing
    There is a marked loss of movement, especially when elevating the arm or taking the arm behind the back. This coincides with scarring of the shoulder joint capsule. Pain may decrease noticeably during this phase.
  3. Thawing
    In this final phase, the shoulder spontaneously begins to ‘loosen’ up and movement to the shoulder is gradually restored.

How can Physiotherapy Help with your frozen shoulder?

Frozen shoulder can last up to three years. There are various treatment options, including injections and surgery to relieve pain and release the scar tissue around the shoulder joint. Physiotherapy can help independently or alongside these medical procedures. Physiotherapy treatment can include manual techniques including joint mobilisation and massage, as well as an exercise program to promote range of movement and strength, to improve function.

Some examples of commonly prescribed exercises are:

1: shoulder blade squeeze: stand up straight, slowly squeeze your shoulder blades together, hold for 5 seconds.
2: wall crawl: face a wall and place your finger tips on the wall, slowly walk your hand up the wall, ensuring no increase in pain
3: pendular exercises: lean forwards, keep your back straight, use your good arm to support you on a table or bench, slowly swing your affected arm forwards and backwards, and then side to side.

Exercises should be pain free. Before commencing an exercise program, or for further information, contact Shanee Fleischer, your Physiotherapist at Caulfield Natural Health Clinic.


Information taken from www.physioadvisor.com.au

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