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Frozen shoulder

Frozen shoulder is an extremely painful condition also known as 'adhesive capsulitis' which can leave the shoulder completely or partially unmovable (stiff) for a prolonged period.

Frozen shoulder often starts out of the blue and may develop slowly, though it may be triggered by a mild injury to the shoulder. The condition usually goes 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 may take a long time, sometimes as long as two or more years. Below details the most common stages of frozen shoulder:

● Freezing phase: 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 to 9 months.

● Frozen phase: Pain begins to diminish, 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 to 12 months.

● Thawing phase: The condition may begin to resolve. Most patients experience a gradual restoration of motion over the next 12 to 42 months

Frozen shoulder may be associated with diabetes, high cholesterol, heart disease and is also seen in patients with scar tissue in their hands, a condition called Dupuytrens contracture. It may follow an injury to the shoulder or surgery. It is thought that the lining of the shoulder joint (the capsule) which is normally very elastic allowing the arm to move freely, becomes ‘sticky’ and tight which restricts movement and causes an awful pain. The pain can come from the ligaments of the shoulder as they and the capsule become inflamed and swollen.

Osteopathic treatment can help at all stages of the disorder, by working around the shoulder, back and neck to restore as much range of movement as is comfortably possible. Treatment may prevent further discomfort and help reduce the length of time that the frozen shoulder takes to recover. We can guide you with what to do and not to do, give you exercises and self-help advice to reduce the symptoms.