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frozen shoulder

What is it?

Frozen shoulder is a common but painful condition that initially starts as a painful shoulder and progresses to a stiff and painful shoulder over time.

Frozen shoulder

Who does it affect?

Frozen shoulder can affect up to 5% of the general population and up to 30% of people with diabetes. It’s also associated with hypothyroidism and Dupuytrens contracture. However, in most of the cases frozen shoulder is idiopathic (meaning without cause). It seems to affect those between the age of 40-60 years old and affects women slightly more than men.

Signs and Symptoms:

  • Can be unique to individual, however some common complaints:
  • Extreme shoulder pain and or stiffness
  • Pain is worse at night
  • Can refer pain to neck, forearm and hand

What is happening with the body?

The theory is that it begins with an immunological event that results in inflammation (synovitis) inside the shoulder joint that eventually causes tightening and contracture of the shoulder capsule. The capsule tightening is what leads to the profound loss of movement seen in a frozen shoulder.

What can you try at home?

  • Medication to assist your pain, muscle tension or to help you psychologically
  • Heat
  • Movement – gentle movement
  • Using a foam roller or trigger ball to decrease muscle tension

How can physiotherapy help?

  • Thorough Assessment, Diagnosis and Management
  • Referral to GP for injection therapy if necessary
  • Education on what to do to help your pain – exercises to normalise your range of motion
  • Release of the tight muscles/joints/reduce sensitivity using massage, joint mobilisations and/or dry needling
  • Exercise program to help regain range of motion and strengthen surrounding muscles