Frozen shoulder, also known as adhesive capsulitis, is a condition where the shoulder becomes very stiff and painful. There is a loss of shoulder motion and significant pain with many types of daily activities. The shoulder joint is surrounded by a membrane or capsule that becomes painful and then shrinks which prevents movement of the shoulder.
Who’s at risk?
• The most common risk factor is diabetes mellitus, especially type I. Adhesive capsulitis affects
approximately 10% to 20% of all diabetics.
Other predisposing factors include:
o A period of enforced immobility, resulting from trauma, overuse injuries or surgery
What does Frozen Shoulder feel like?
Frozen shoulder usually comes on gradually over time. It is usually associated with pain, stiffness and limitation in shoulder movement. Your strength is not usually affected.
Causes of frozen shoulder :
Most cases of adhesive capsulitis do not have a predisposing risk factor involved and are called idiopathic. The cause of this type of frozen shoulder is unknown, but probably involves an underlying inflammatory process. The capsule surrounding the shoulder joint thickens and contracts. This leaves less space for the upper arm bone (humerus) to move around.
Frozen shoulder can also develop after prolonged immobilization because of trauma or surgery to the joint. Usually only one shoulder is affected, although in about 1/3 of cases, motion may be limited in both arms.
If a risk factor or predisposing factor is present and treatable, the underlying stiffness and pain in the shoulder will resolve with physical therapy and treatment for the underlying condition.
Stages of (idiopathic) Frozen Shoulder
Frozen shoulder develops slowly, and in three stages:
• Stage One: “Freezing”- Pain increases with movement and is often worse at night. There is a progressive loss of motion with increasing pain. This stage lasts approximately 2-9 months.
• Stage Two: “Frozen”- Pain begins to diminish, and moving the arm is more comfortable. However, the range of motion is now much more limited, as much as 50 percent less than in the other arm. This stage may last 4-12 months.
• Stage Three: “Thawing”- The condition begins to resolve. Most patients experience a gradual restoration of motion over the next 12-24 months.
Posterior shoulder stretch
External rotation stretch