Frozen Shoulder or Adhesive Capsulitis is a condition whereby the shoulder joint becomes stiff and painful to move in all directions. It usually develops gradually, worsens over time, then eventually resolves; this usually occurs over a 2 year period. Frozen shoulder affects mainly people between the ages of 40 and 60 years old, it can occur in either shoulder, and in men or women.
What causes Frozen Shoulder?
The shoulder is a ball and socket joint which allows it to move in more directions that any other joint in the body. There is a capsule around the joint which is made up of soft tissue fibres. In a frozen shoulder, this capsule becomes contracted and forms bands of scar tissue called adhesions. This causes stiffness and often severe pain in the shoulder joint.
There are certain things that make people more at risk of developing a frozen shoulder, including:
- Age – it is more common in people of ages 40 – 60 years old
- Gender – about 70% of people who get frozen shoulder are women
- Diabetes – people with diabetes are more likely to develop the condition and it also takes longer to recover
- Immobility – not moving a shoulder often enough after an injury can turn into a frozen shoulder
- Systemic diseases – tuberculosis, thyroid issues, Parkinson’s disease and cardiovascular disease puts people more at risk
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.
Common symptoms include:
- Dull or aching pain; sometimes sharp with movement
- Pain in the outer region of the shoulder that can radiate into the outer upper arm
- Discomfort that’s worse at night and in cold environments
- Inability to sleep on the affected shoulder
- Stiffness in the shoulder that worsens over time
There are typically 3 phases in frozen shoulder which occur over a period of up to 2 years.
Phase 1 – Freezing phase
The shoulder gradually becomes more painful over a period of time. With pain, the shoulder starts becoming stiffer.
Phase 2 – Frozen phase
The shoulder pain improves a little during this phase. However, shoulder movement will be extremely limited and performing daily tasks such as dressing or grooming will be painful and difficult.
Phase 3 – Thawing phase
The shoulder pain will gradually alleviate and diminish during this phase. It will also be easier to move the shoulder as the stiffness improves while your shoulder is “thawing”.
Experiencing shoulder pain? Click here to find out more about physiotherapy for shoulder pain relief and how Core Concepts can help
Related and Popular Articles
- Snapping Ankle - Physiotherapy
- Labour Epidural Cause Chronic Backache?
- The Best Exercises for Trochanteric Bursitis
- Posterior Pelvic Pain (Sacroiliac Joint Pain) in Pregnant Women
- How do I know if I have scoliosis?
- Diastasis Recti Abdominis - Conditions
- Cobb Angle and Scoliosis
- Maybe it isn't Plantar Fasciitis but Heel Fat Pad Syndrome
- What to do when your back hurts so much that you can't get out of bed?
- Multifidus - Smallest Yet Most Powerful Muscle
- Nerve Stretches
- Shoulder Pain - Frequently Asked Questions
- 'Clunking' Shoulders - Part I
- Waking up with neck pain? Find the right pillow.
- Not All Pain In the Back Is Back Pain - It Could Be Rib Pain
- MCL strain not getting better? Because it is Pes Ancerinus Tendinitis.
- Slipped Disc in Singapore - What to Do and Avoid
- Better to break a bone than to tear a ligament or tendon
- Knee Joint & Ankle Pain - Specialist Treatment in Singapore
- Acromion Clavicle Joint - Another source of shoulder pain
- Sway Back No More
- Knock Knees - Can I reverse it? (Part 1)
- Sway back posture: A leading poor posture type causing back pain
- Posterior Capsule stretches