FROZEN SHOULDER



capsulitis causing shoulder pain requiring physiotherapy treatmentWhat is it?

Also known as adhesive capsulitis.  A gradual and often painful onset of diffuse shoulder pain and stiffness.

Causes:

At times there can appear to be a trigger, but often is insidious (unknown).  There also is a strong link to development in people with diabetes, so cautious management of same presentations is important


Signs & Symptoms:

There are 3 phases of presentation. Initially, often there is an aching pain that can be sharp.  Motion starts to reduce particularly in external rotation, internal rotation and abduction. This is a progressive process where unfortunately the shoulder becomes stiffer through the “freezing phase”. It then will remain stiff but be less painful through the “frozen phase”. Gradually this moves onto the “thawing phase” when movement is able to be returned slowly through manual therapy and exercise.

Treatment:

Education regarding timeframes and appropriate management in each ‘phase’ of the frozen shoulder process is important – freezing, frozen, or thawing. Pain relief via manual therapy and local treatment, progressive exercises to maintain and improve range where possible.

Prognosis:

Up to 2 years to regain full function if a true frozen shoulder diagnosis, but most resolve within 6-9 months.