Frozen Shoulder CaloundraOctober 1, 2011
Frozen shoulder, or adhesive capsulitis, refers to a condition where there is generalised restriction of shoulder movement associated with thickening and stiffness of the shoulder joint capsule. Frozen shoulder may occur following some trauma to the shoulder, such as rotator cuff tear, bursitis, fracture or surgery. It may also occur spontaneously.
Frozen shoulder is more common in women than men and tends to occur between the ages of 40 and 6o. It also occurs more commonly in people with diabetes.
Typically, frozen shoulder will present as pain around the shoulder joint and on the outside of the upper arm. This pain will be worse with activities involving elevation and rotation of the arm. Sleeping on the affected shoulder is often difficult. A decrease in external rotation and abduction, which your physiotherapist can assess, will often aid in the diagnosis of this condition.
Surgical or post-traumatic frozen shoulder usually resolves within 12 months. Physiotherapy treatments such as manual and soft tissue therapy, exercise prescription and pain-relieving modalities can all assist in your recovery.
Idiopathic, or spontaneous frozen shoulder can take up to two and a half years to resolve. Often it is simply necessary to wait out this period, during which physiotherapy can assist to control pain and maintain muscle function. There is also a surgical option that, combined with physiotherapy post-operatively, has been shown to restore normal motion earlier.