Is diagnosed after a sustained period of pain and limited movement in the shoulder joint. Surrounding all movable joints of the body is a “stocking like” layer (called a capsule) that creates stability and encloses the lubricant within the joint, known as synovial fluid. Often after trauma to the shoulder, the stocking around the joint can thicken/tighten or even begin to stick to the bones of the joint – thus not allowing normal, free movement. This loss of mobility and associated pain results in the shoulder “freezing up”.
Frozen Shoulder is often charactered by three phases. Initially, we see pain and restriction in movement most often after a fall, bump, or injury to the shoulder or neck area. If movement is not restored quickly, the range of motion in the shoulder begins to diminish further/ instead of seeing improvement as would naturally be expected. This worsening of movement, over the next few months leads to the “Frozen” characteristic, finally diagnosed once the ability to lift the arm above shoulder height or to scratch the back, is lost.
Once this phase is reached the prognosis is grim, and over the next 6-12 months the shoulder becomes stiffer making every day activities more difficult, furthermore the shoulder becomes very painful to treat and many people report the pain worsens at night.
Finally, (some 12 to 18 months after the initial incident) the pain and range of motion in your shoulder begins to improve and strengthening can finally be restored.
Who does it occur in?
Females above the age of 40 are most affected by frozen shoulder, although it can also affect males. It is more likely to affect the non dominant arm, and unfortunately due to the overuse of the “good arm” during this long recovery, this opposite shoulder also requires treatment to prevent an overuse injury as a result. There is also an increased likelihood of experiencing frozen shoulder in patients after surgery, stroke and rotator cuff injury – or when you are required to keeping the arm in a sling.
In all cases/and or phases of Frozen Shoulder, it is critical to maintain, if not improve whatever range of motion you have – as small as it may be. Arm swings, self assisted movements and exercise through the pain free (segments of arm movement) are important to maintain. Seeking treatment such as shoulder manipulations and muscle/joint mobilisation are vital in reducing the time spent in the “frozen” phase as these forms of treatment are the best means of breaking up the painful adhesions. You can call our clinic on (03) 9017 4784 to speak with Dr. Phil where he will be more than happy to chat to you about your concerns. Alternatively, our clinic is open 6 days a week where you can speak with one of our reception staff to book an appointment or you can book an appointment anytime on our website at www.bodylinehealth.com .
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