Frozen Shoulder

Author Philip Nolan

Dr. Philip Nolan is a seasoned osteopath specialising in tailored, high-quality treatments. His 20 years of hands-on experience and advocacy for osteopathy have earned him nationwide respect.

As an Osteopath, we often assist patients who suffer from shoulder pain and stiffness. One of the most common shoulder conditions I see in my practice is frozen shoulder, also known as adhesive capsulitis. Frozen shoulder is a painful and debilitating condition that affects the shoulder joint, making it difficult to move the arm and shoulder. In this blog post, I will explain what frozen shoulder is, its signs and symptoms, treatment options, and prognosis.

What is Frozen Shoulder?

Frozen shoulder is a condition that causes pain and stiffness in the shoulder joint. The condition occurs when the tissue that surrounds the shoulder joint (the capsule) becomes thickened and tight, restricting the movement of the joint. This can cause severe pain and discomfort in the shoulder and arm, making it difficult to perform everyday tasks.

Signs and Symptoms of Frozen Shoulder

The main symptom of frozen shoulder is pain and stiffness in the shoulder joint. The pain is usually a dull ache that worsens at night or when the arm is moved. The stiffness in the shoulder joint makes it difficult to move the arm and shoulder, making simple tasks like reaching for objects, combing hair, or getting dressed challenging.

There are three stages of frozen shoulder, and each stage has its own set of symptoms.

  1. Freezing Stage: During this stage, the shoulder joint becomes painful, and the range of motion begins to decrease. The pain can be severe, and it can be difficult to sleep at night due to the discomfort.
  2. Frozen Stage: During this stage, the pain may begin to decrease, but the shoulder becomes even stiffer, making it difficult to move the arm at all. This stage can last for several months.
  3. Thawing Stage: During this stage, the shoulder begins to regain some range of motion, and the pain starts to improve. This stage can last for several months to a year.

Treatment Options for Frozen Shoulder

There are several treatment options for frozen shoulder, including:

  1. Pain Relief: Painkillers, such as paracetamol or ibuprofen, can help relieve the pain associated with frozen shoulder.
  2. Physical Therapy: Stretching and strengthening exercises may help improve the range of motion in the shoulder joint and reduce stiffness.  Always consult your friendly Osteopath for appropriate exercises
  3. Osteopathic Treatment: Osteopathic treatment, such as soft tissue manipulation and joint mobilization, may help relieve pain and improve the range of motion in the shoulder joint.
  4. Surgery: In severe cases, surgery may be required to release the tightness in the capsule and improve range of motion.

Prognosis for Frozen Shoulder

The prognosis for frozen shoulder varies from person to person. Some people may experience a complete recovery, while others may continue to experience some level of pain or stiffness. It’s important to note that frozen shoulder can take several months to a year to fully recover, and treatment is essential to help manage the pain and improve range of motion.

If you are suffering from frozen shoulder, visit the Queensland Osteopathic Clinic for treatment and and assistance with your condition. Our team of experienced Osteopaths are focused on your individual treatment to  improve the range of motion in your shoulder joint. Don’t let frozen shoulder hold you back any longer. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.

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