Frozen Shoulder

Frozen Shoulder

What is Frozen Shoulder?

Frozen shoulder, or adhesive capsulitis, is caused by an inflammatory reaction and thickening of the muscles, tendons and ligaments that sit around your shoulder joint. The reason why this happens is unfortunately poorly understood in the medical world.

Typically, it can be detected by pain and a significant and progressive loss of movement of the shoulder, often without reasonable explanation.

We often distinguish 3 phases of the condition.Frozen Shoulder

  1. Freezing – the presence of inflammation. It hurts!
  2. Frozen – the pain has mostly settled, but movement is very stiff.
  3. Thawing – a gradual easing and recovery of movement.

The most challenging part is the expectation that on average, frozen shoulder may take up to 3 years to fully recover!

It occurs in about 5% of the population with women being 4 x more likely to suffer from it, and the non-dominant shoulder seems to be more often affected.

How do I get it better?

You may have been recommended a few options for managing a frozen shoulder. The common invasive options include:

  • Cortisone injections
  • Hydro-dilation
  • Capsular release

The more conservative approaches include physiotherapy with both hands on therapy and exercise therapy.

What does the evidence say?Frozen Shoulder

Now, considering there is still a lot left to understand, there is still some good research out there.

We’re here to try and summarise the evidence as best we can, in order to provide you with the best treatment.

  1. Hands on physiotherapy combined with regular stretching and strengthening is shown to be effective.
  2. Supervised exercise may be more beneficial than home exercise.
  3. Early cortisone injections may provide better short-term outcomes.
  4. Early intervention is important!
  5. Moving, although pain may be present, is important! Pain ≠ damage.

Get that shoulder moving again?