Have you ever experienced prolonged pain and stiffness in your shoulder joint? Was this accompanied by decreased mobility and difficulty sleeping on the aching side? If you answered yes, like many others, you have experienced a frozen shoulder.
Frozen shoulder or Adhesive Capsulitis is caused due to fibrosis of the gleno-humeral joint (shoulder) capsule. Most people who suffer from it notice an acute onset of pain in and around the shoulder region. It can be caused by unknown triggers, certain injuries or even smaller unnoticeable jerks. It often gets worse in cooler weather conditions and also results in morning stiffness. Frozen Shoulder tends to affect more women than men, and is often seen in individuals between the age of 40 and 50; it’s prevalence being higher in diabetics.
While we often tend to ignore muscle pain, a neglected frozen shoulder could lead to many undesirable consequences. If dismissed at the early stage, the condition can manifest into a more aggressive form resulting in not just worsening of pain but also loss of functional movement.
The current evidence suggests early intervention can prevent this and it is advisable to incorporate a multifactorial treatment approach for best outcomes.
- Early assessment to help form a correct hypothesis about the stage
- Detailed examination to find out the activity and participation restriction
- Patient education about the condition and its effects
- Pain management using medications, elctrophysical modalities, local ointments and hot fomentation.
- Corrective exercises – very specific exercises on the basis of findings of the initial assessment are key to progress as well as helps to control of the condition.
- Joint mobilization – this is one of the underutilized techniques. If done with expertise, it is one of the most skillful tools to help battle pain and stiffness.
- Soft tissue mobilization techniques done by skilled physiotherapists help in stretching of the capsule and alleviating the tightness
This along with appropriate home care advice, will certainly help in regaining functional independence for those suffering from this condition.