What is frozen shoulder?

Frozen shoulder (AKA adhesive capsulitis) is a very painful, stiffening of the shoulder joint capsule which occurs usually among middle-aged individuals without a known cause. It is more common in women and diabetics. It typically begins as a very painful shoulder joint with limited ability to move the shoulder, often without any known trauma to the upper arm or shoulder.

It also can come after a shoulder injury or surgery, if shoulder movement is restricted for a period of time. It can take months-years to run its course, but it can be significantly improved with Physical Therapy (usually for several months).

You may not have heard of frozen shoulder unless you know someone who has experienced it in the past. It is a severely painful and potentially debilitating condition that needs to be medically managed immediately for the best and fastest recovery possible.

Physical Therapy treatment of frozen shoulder typically includes aggressive stretching, manual techniques, modalities (such as ultrasound), and exercises for the muscles surrounding the shoulder joints. Other medical options may include medications, injections, manipulations, and/or surgery.

If you notice shoulder pain and stiffness without cause, do not delay medical care. Consult your physician or healthcare provider immediately.

-Brotzman SB, Wilk KE. Clinical Orthopaedic Rehabilitation, 2nd ed. 2003: Mosby, Inc. Pages 227-231.

Published by lizbnavarr@gmail.com

I am a Physical Therapist and Ergonomics Consultant, based out of Columbia, SC. My passion is to write about and speak about pain/injury prevention. I started Pain Talks as a consulting business in 2018.

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