Frozen ShoulderFrozen Shoulder (or ‘Adhesive Capsulitis’) is usually a very painful condition in which the shoulder is either completely or partially unmovable. This shoulder pain condition often starts with no obvious cause worsening gradually, but may be triggered by a mild injury to the shoulder. Underuse or immobilisation of the shoulder, such as post surgery, can also be a trigger for this problem. Our Manchester physio clinics successfully treat painful Frozen Shoulder conditions on a constant basis.

Frozen Shoulder problems naturally go through three phases, starting with pain, then stiffness and finally a stage of resolution as the pain eases and most of the movement returns. This process can take a long time, often as long as more than 2 years. A very depressing thought for the injured person!

Frozen shoulder may be associated with diabeteshigh cholesterolheart diseaseand is also seen in patients with scar tissue in their hands, a condition calledDupuytren¹s contracture. Unfortunately, as yet no method of prevention of frozen shoulder has been developed.

What causes the pain and stiffness?

The shoulder joint has a lining and envelope which surrounds it, known as thecapsule. This is normally a very stretchy and elastic structure which enables our shoulder to move in many directions. With a frozen shoulder this capsule (and its ligaments) becomes inflamed, swollen and folded upon itself. The normal elasticity is lost and pain and stiffness set in. This can have serious implications for people with occupations and lifestyles that require good shoulder movement.

How can it be treated?

Following full assessment and diagnosis we will discuss the most appropriate treatment plan for you. Where possible, we aim to gain full recovery in the most non-invasive way possible to reduce disruption to our patient’s lives.

Treatment focuses around restoring your shoulder and arm movement and reducing your pain in the process. We use a very ‘hands on’ approach to treatment.

To achieve this we can use;

  • Specific exercise to help improve your shoulder movement and strength.
  • Proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PNF) to regain your normal movement patterns.
  • Graded joint mobilisation and manipulation.
  • Soft Tissue Massage.
  • Heat Treatment for pain relief during treatment.

On some occasions this conservative approach to treatment may be not fully successful and may require injection, manipulation under anaesthetic or surgical procedure. Our experienced Physiotherapists will guide you through this process and liaise with GP’s and consultants where required to enable best management of this painful and very restrictive condition.


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