Frozen Shoulder (Adhesive Capsulitis) Rehabilitation

Frozen Shoulder (Adhesive Capsulitis) Rehabilitation

Frozen shoulder, or adhesive capsulitis, is a condition characterized by stiffness and pain in your shoulder joint. As the condition worsens, your shoulder’s range of motion becomes less and less. Frozen shoulder usually affects one shoulder at a time, but it is sometimes found in both.

Frozen shoulder typically develops slowly and progresses in three stages, sometimes lasting a few months in each stage.
  • Painful stage: During this stage, pain occurs with any movement of your shoulder and your shoulder’s range of motion starts to become limited.
  • Frozen stage: Pain may begin to diminish during this stage. However, your shoulder becomes stiffer and your range of motion decreases notably. Avoid extreme movements that cause pain during this stage. But, you can and should continue normal use of your shoulder.
  • Thawing stage: During the thawing stage, the range of motion in your shoulder begins to improve.

For some people, the pain feels worse at night, and can even disrupt normal sleep patterns.

Unfortunately, the exact cause of frozen shoulder is unknown. It can occur after an injury to your shoulder or prolonged immobilization of your shoulder, such as after surgery or an arm fracture. People with diabetes have a greater risk of frozen shoulder. For this reason, frozen shoulder may have an autoimmune component, meaning your immune system may begin to attack the healthy parts of your body.  People with other health conditions, including heart disease, lung disease and hyperthyroidism, also may have an increased risk of developing frozen shoulder.

Your shoulder is a ball-and-socket joint. The round end of your upper arm bone (humerus) fits into a shallow groove on your shoulder blade (scapula), much like a golf ball rests on a tee. Tough connective tissue, called the shoulder capsule, surrounds the joint.
When frozen shoulder occurs, the shoulder capsule becomes inflamed and stiff. The inflammation may cause bands of tissue (adhesions) to develop between your joint’s surfaces. Synovial fluid, which helps to keep your joint lubricated and moving smoothly, may decrease. As a result, pain and subsequent loss of movement may occur. In some cases, mobility may decrease so much that performing everyday activities — such as combing your hair, brushing your teeth or reaching for your wallet in your back pocket — is difficult or even impossible.

Although the exact cause is unknown, certain factors may increase your risk of getting frozen shoulder. These factors include:

  • Age. People 40 and older are more likely to experience frozen shoulder.
  • Diabetes. For unknown reasons, frozen shoulder is more common in people with diabetes.
  • Immobility. People who have experienced prolonged immobility of their shoulder — perhaps due to trauma, overuse injuries or surgery — are at higher risk of developing frozen shoulder.
  • Systemic diseases. People with a systemic disease, such as an overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism), under active thyroid (hypothyroidism), cardiovascular disease or Parkinson’s disease, may experience frozen shoulder

If you experience significant pain combined with stiffness and restricted range of motion in your shoulder, we are here to help!

The primary means of diagnosing frozen shoulder is a physical examination. During the exam, will evaluate your active movement (movement without assistance) by asking you to raise and lower your arm to the front, sides and back of your body. We will also test your passive movement (movement with assistance) by manually moving your arm and shoulder to determine your range of motion. Muscle testing of the affected areas also provide valuable information as to the integrity of the shoulder joint.  An X-ray of your shoulder joint may also be necessary in order to allow us to assess the bones of your shoulder. Loss of both active and passive movement, muscle weakness, and a pattern of generalized (diffuse) shoulder tightness and pain are strong indicators of frozen shoulder.

As we begin to rehabilitate the frozen shoulder or main goals are to: control shoulder pain and restore the range of motion in the shoulder as possible to permit you to perform everyday tasks.

Quantum Neurology™ Rehabilitation, and joint mobilization have amazing results when it comes to reducing pain, and increasing motion for those that have a structural component causing their symptoms.  When a systemic condition (such as cardiovascular disease, Parkinson’s disease, or a hormonal imbalance) is the underlying cause, a nutritional approach is designed to decrease inflammation, and support the affected areas of the body in order to provide relief to the shoulder.  Most patients that experience frozen shoulder symptoms report an immediate decrease in pain after their first session when utilizing Quantum Neurology™ Rehabilitation, nutrition, and joint mobilization.  Both active and passive rang of motion generally display a significant increase in functional in just a few visits too!

Since every patient is different, and results vary, the only way for us to know if we can help you, or someone you know is with a thorough exam.  Let us help you to reduce the affects of your frozen shoulder today!

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