What is frozen shoulder? (Adhesive Capsulitis)
A condition causing pain and stiffness in the shoulder. This may be of the dominant or non-dominant arm. It occasionally affects both shoulders.
Who is affected by frozen shoulder?
It most often affects people between the ages of 40-65 and is more common in women and diabetics.
How does frozen shoulder occur?
Frozen shoulder may occur spontaneously or following an injury or a period of shoulder immobility.
What are the symptoms of frozen shoulder?
A gradual onset of severe pain and restriction of all shoulder movements in all directions. It is very difficult to put on a jacket, or to sleep on the affected side.
There are 3 phases
- Severe pain and stiffness lasting up to 9 months
- Less pain but very stiff lasting 4-12 months
- Less stiff and painful for 1-3 years.
Treatment for frozen shoulder
In the first phase, pain killers and occasionally a steroid injection have been found to help reduce levels of pain. As the phases progress, the shoulder can benefit from gentle stretching and mobilisation by the osteopath. This can also help prevent loss of mobility after the frozen shoulder has resolved.
Occasionally operations are performed to release the tissues causing the frozen shoulder in patients whose severe symptoms are not resolving after 6 months.