Do I Have A Frozen Shoulder?

As a chiropractor, I treat a wide variety of conditions in my practice. One of the most challenging and debilitating issues my patients face is frozen shoulder. Also known as adhesive capsulitis, frozen shoulder is a condition characterized by stiffness and pain in the shoulder joint. In this article, I will shed light on what frozen shoulder is, its causes, common symptoms, and how chiropractic treatments can provide relief and improve the quality of life for those suffering from this condition.

What is Frozen Shoulder?

Frozen shoulder is a condition that affects the shoulder joint's capsule. The capsule is a connective tissue that surrounds the shoulder joint, keeping it stable. When this capsule becomes inflamed and thickened, it limits the joint's range of motion, leading to stiffness and pain. Over time, the condition can progress through three distinct stages: the freezing stage, the frozen stage, and the thawing stage. Each stage can last for several months. The entire condition can last for up to two years or longer if left untreated.

Causes of Frozen Shoulder

The exact cause of frozen shoulder is not always clear. Certain risk factors can increase the likelihood of developing this condition. Some of the common causes include:

  1. Injury or Trauma: A previous shoulder injury or surgery may lead to immobilization, causing the shoulder joint to become stiff over time.
  2. Systemic Diseases: Individuals with certain systemic conditions such as diabetes, thyroid disorders, cardiovascular diseases, and autoimmune disorders are more prone to developing frozen shoulder.
  3. Immobility and Lack of Use: Prolonged periods of immobilization or lack of use of the shoulder joint, such as when wearing a sling or due to a sedentary lifestyle, can contribute to the development of frozen shoulder.
  4. Age and Gender: People between the ages of 40 and 60 and women are more commonly affected by frozen shoulder.

Symptoms of Frozen Shoulder

Frozen shoulder can be a debilitating condition that significantly impacts daily activities and quality of life. Common symptoms include:

  1. Stiffness: Gradual onset of stiffness that worsens over time, restricting the shoulder's range of motion.
  2. Pain: Persistent pain, often described as a dull or aching sensation, which intensifies with movement or pressure on the affected shoulder.
  3. Limited Range of Motion: Difficulty in performing everyday tasks like reaching overhead, dressing, or combing hair due to restricted movement in the shoulder joint.
  4. Night Pain: Pain and discomfort in the shoulder, which may interfere with sleep.

Chiropractic Treatments for Frozen Shoulder

My goal is to provide natural and non-invasive treatments that address the root cause of the problem. While frozen shoulder can be a challenging condition to treat, chiropractic care can significantly help patients find relief and improve their shoulder's mobility. These treatments have provided great results for my patients with frozen shoulder:

  1. Chiropractic Adjustments: Gentle adjustments to the spine and shoulder can help improve joint motion. This can reduce pain and improve functional activities.
  2. Soft Tissue Techniques: I use soft tissue techniques such as Active Release Technique, Graston Technique, and stretching to alleviate tension and tightness in the muscles surrounding the shoulder joint.
  3. Exercise Rehabilitation: Tailored rehabilitation exercises are essential for restoring strength, flexibility, and range of motion to the shoulder. We design personalized exercise programs that increase range of motion and strength in the shoulder joint.
  4. Heat Therapy: Applying heat to the affected area can help relax muscles and increase blood flow, which aids in reducing stiffness.
  5. Posture Correction: Addressing posture issues can be crucial in managing frozen shoulder. Chiropractors can provide advice and corrective techniques to improve posture, reducing strain on the shoulder joint.
  6. Lifestyle Modifications: As frozen shoulder is often associated with certain lifestyle factors, chiropractors can provide guidance on making adjustments to daily habits that may be contributing to the condition.

Frozen shoulder can be a painful and frustrating condition. With the right approach and treatment, patients can find relief and regain their shoulder's mobility. If you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms of frozen shoulder, seeking early chiropractic intervention can make a significant difference in managing the condition effectively and improving the quality of life.