Frozen shoulder, also known as adhesive capsulitis, can be extremely debilitating. Frozen shoulder can cause pain and affect the performance of everyday activities. It can also take a long time to improve. Frozen shoulder can be hard to diagnose as it doesn’t appear on an X-ray or MRI scan. In this article, we’ll go over the symptoms, causes, and treatment of the condition.
What are the first signs of a frozen shoulder?
There are three stages to a frozen shoulder:
1. Freezing stage
The first signs are usually pain in the shoulder and a restriction in mobility. For example, struggling to lift your arms above your head. Pain when washing your hair, reaching up high, and if you’re a side sleeper, pain when laying on the affected shoulder. The pain can radiate up your neck or down your arm. This stage can last anywhere from 2 to 9 months.
2. Frozen stage
As you start to move your shoulder less, the connective tissues around the shoulder joint (glenohumeral joint) thickens and contracts. The pain generally lessens, but the lack of mobility increases. At this stage, the stiffness has truly set in. This stage can last up to between 4 and 12 months. In severe cases, scar tissue starts to form.
3. Thawing stage
Eventually, the shoulder will begin to ‘thaw,’ and movement will slowly return. This can take anywhere from 5 to 24 months.
The length of each stage really depends on the treatment. Returning to full health can be sped up with chiropractic care and self-care in between appointments.
What causes frozen shoulder?
There really is no one cause. An injury can trigger a frozen shoulder. In addition, those who have their arm immobilized in a sling are at risk, especially if they don’t undertake any stretching. Rotator cuff injuries can also lead to a frozen shoulder.
Those who have had a stroke are at risk, and certain diseases can increase your risk, such as diabetes, thyroid issues, heart disease, and Parkinson’s disease. Sometimes, the reason is obscure, and we’ll never know what caused the process to start.
What is the fastest way to get rid of a frozen shoulder?
First, other shoulder injuries, such as bursitis or a rotator cuff injury, need to be ruled out. Here at Bryn Mawr Wellness, Dr. Crooker assesses all suspected cases thoroughly, looking at all factors, including range of motion and the condition of the connective tissue around the shoulder joint.
Once a diagnosis is made, treatment will usually utilize several chiropractic techniques, including ART. Essentially, ART stretches, separates, and releases connective tissue adhesions, increasing your range of motion, flexibility, and strength while also restoring vascular circulation.
Chiropractic adjustment will help to restore alignment and optimize nerve conduction and flow, helping to reduce inflammation and the shoulder to relax and heal.
In addition, Dr. Crooker will explain specific stretches to perform at home to help speed up recovery.