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Treatment for Frozen Shoulder pain

Updated on August 11, 2016

Frozen Shoulder:

Frozen shoulder is also known as adhesive capsulitis or periarthritis. It is basically development of dense adhesions, capsular thickening, and capsular restrictions mainly in the dependent folds of the capsule of the gleno-humeral joint. There is no specific reason for the onset of frozen shoulder and it usually occurs between the ages of 40-60 years. There is specific treatment for frozen shoulder pain but prolonged immobilization, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and several other shoulder conditions can lead to frozen shoulder.

Clinical signs and symptoms of frozen shoulder are divided into three phases:

1. Freezing: it is characterized by intense pain even at rest and limited ROM till 2-3 weeks after the onset and can prolong up to 10-36 weeks.

2. Frozen: it is characterized by pain only with movement and substitute motion of the scapula. There is atrophy of the muscles surrounding the joint involved and can last up to 4-12 months.

3. Thawing: it is characterized by no pain but significant movement restrictions and this stage can last up to 2 to 24 months.

The affected frozen shoulder usually gets restricted motion in a capsular pattern, that is, external rotation and abduction is most affected and internal rotation and flexion is the least affected. Patient also has decreased swinging of the arm while walking. Patient goes into a faulty posture and starts using scapula as a substitute for shoulder movements.

Patient is unable to move the arm overhead, behind the head, reach behind the back or reach outside. Thus, frozen shoulder restricts the patient from doing activities such as dressing, reaching into the back pocket, reaching out to the car window, using a hair-brush and sometimes even eating. Patient has difficulty carrying heavy objects as well. Thus, frozen shoulder needs Reboot physical therapy service for improving range of motion and reducing pain.

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