Physiotherapy Treatment for Frozen Shoulder
Frozen shoulder (also known as adhesive capsulitis) is a condition that causes pain and stiffness in the shoulder and can significantly interfere with daily activities. It is most common for individuals between the ages of 40 to 60 and occurs more commonly in women compared to men.
The exact cause of frozen shoulder is unknown, however there are few known factors may make you more susceptible to it. Frozen shoulder often occurs as a result of a shoulder injury, such as a rotator cuff tear, shoulder surgery, or a bone fracture affecting the shoulder. It is also common for individuals who have been immobilized for prolonged periods of time, individuals who have had a stroke, individuals with Parkinson disease, people who have diseases affecting the thyroid gland and individuals with Diabetes.
Frozen shoulder occurs in three stages:
Stage1: Freezing: The “freezing” stage typically lasts from 6 weeks to 9 months. During this stage, pain increases and your shoulder loses range of motion. Physiotherapy and massage therapy will focus on pain relief during this stage.
Stage 2: Frozen: The “frozen” stage typically lasts from 4 to 6 months. During this stage, painful symptoms may actually improve but stiffness remains. Daily activities may become very difficult to complete. Your physiotherapist and/or massage therapist will start to implement techniques that will stretch out the shoulder joint and help restore mobility.
Stage 3: Thawing: During the “thawing” stage, shoulder motion will slowly improve. It can take from 6 months to 2 years to return to normal strength and motion. During this stage your therapist will be more aggressive with stretching and range of motion techniques. Your massage therapist will work really hard on breaking down scar tissue and adhesions to help restore your shoulder mobility. As you develop more range of motion your physio will teach you strengthening exercises so that you can start using your arm normally again.
By seeing a trained professional, you will learn exercises to help your shoulder condition, you will learn pain management strategies and they will use hands on techniques that will speed up the recovery process and help prevent a secondary frozen shoulder from developing. Please contact us for more information or to book an appointment with our physiotherapists or registered massage therapists.
Alishah Merchant, FCAMPT Physiotherapist
Alishah Merchant is a FCAMPT physiotherapist practicing at Rebalance Sports Medicine in downtown Toronto.