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Frozen Shoulder

Frozen Shoulder

A frozen shoulder doesn’t develop overnight. It starts with shoulder pain and stiffness. But, eventually, you may find it almost impossible to move the affected shoulder. Medications may help you relieve the condition. But, that doesn’t treat the core of the issue. Does it? Physiotherapy, on the other hand, assesses the underlying cause of the problem to provide you with an effective treatment programme. 

What Exactly is a Frozen Shoulder?

You are most likely to get a frozen shoulder if you have not moved your shoulder for a long time. This usually happens after surgeries where you are not allowed to move your shoulder. 

The affected shoulder stiffens causing pain and discomfort. With time, it can also cause shoulder mobility problems. 

The condition involves three stages: 

  • Freezing 

This stage lasts for about 6 weeks to 9 months. You feel nothing but excruciating pain at this stage. You may also feel a lack of range of motion in your shoulders. 

  • Frozen 

The pain may subside at this stage. The stiffness, however, remains in your shoulders. You may find it difficult to do your daily activities in the initial period of this stage. 

  • Thawing 

This is where you start recovering from the condition. You start getting your motion back. And you restore normal motion and strength within 6 months to 2 years. 

So, pain in the shoulders is your key sign that you may have the early symptoms of a frozen shoulder. You can get it checked by a physiotherapist accordingly. 

What Causes A Frozen Shoulder?

The causes of a frozen shoulder are not clear yet. However, here are some factors that may contribute to this condition after a certain age. 

  • Diabetes 
  • Immobilization 
  • Diseases like hyperthyroidism

Let’s check out the anatomy of a shoulder so you understand what exactly happens in a frozen shoulder. 

  • Your shoulder consists of three bones- the upper arm bone, collarbone and shoulder blade. 
  • The tip of the upper arm fits into a shallow socket present in the shoulder blade. 
  • The shoulder capsule is a strong connective tissue that surrounds the ball and socket joint. 
  • Synovial fluid further lubricates the shoulder capsule making mobility easy 

In a frozen shoulder, the shoulder capsule becomes stiff. The synovial fluid reduces in the joints. 

How Does Physiotherapy Help?

A frozen shoulder occurs when the shoulder capsule becomes too tight or stiff. Physiotherapy focuses on reducing the stiffness, inflammation and pain in the shoulder capsule. Physiotherapists examine your condition to understand the main cause of the pain. They then prescribe specific exercises to help you return to daily life activities. 

Physiotherapy treatments that help: 

  • Manual therapy 
  • Muscle strengthening and stretching exercises 
  • Electrotherapy 
  • Cryotherapy 
  • Myofascial release 

The benefits of physiotherapy are: 

  • Reduces pain associated with a frozen shoulder 
  • Improves shoulder mobility 
  • Eases the stiffness in the shoulder capsule 
  • Strengthens shoulder muscles 

At Legend Physiotherapy, we have experienced physiotherapists in Abbotsford to listen to, assess and treat various health conditions. Some common conditions we treat at our Abbotsford physiotherapy clinic are frozen shoulder, back pain, rotator cuff injury, etc.