• Michael Salcido

Frozen Shoulders

The term frozen shoulder refers to pain and lack of range of motion in the shoulder. Frozen shoulder is also a blanket term for a variety of shoulder physiopathologies. The Term adhesive capsulitis is often used interchangeably, but that is incorrect. The difference between Adhesive capsulitis and Frozen shoulder are the muscular involvements during the acute phases of pain in this disease. Adhesive Capsulitis refers to adhesion directly inside the capsule of the shoulder impeding motion and causing much pain. Frozen shoulder, on the other hand, can refer to tight muscles, tears, and other muscular issues in the tissues that surround the shoulder capsule.

Frozen shoulder has 3 stages: Freezing (1-3 month), Frozen (4-6 month), Thawing (6-7 month). In the freezing stage is typically where the most pain is experienced. Frozen stage the range of motion loss is around 30-50 degrees external rotation, Shoulder flexion and abduction while also experiencing substantial pain. Thawing is when the pain lifts and the time frame where range of motion begins to return.

Often after having experienced frozen shoulder the full range of motion does not return with out the help of conservative intervention. Depending on the degree of frozen shoulder surgical intervention may take place, or aggressive manipulation of the shoulder joint with local anesthetics. Sometimes local anti-inflammatory might be used to curb the pain but they have little to no lasting benefit.

Massage Therapy can be highly effective in reducing the length, Pain, and even prevent Frozen shoulder from progressing. Due to the nature of Frozen shoulder being a disease produced primarily from soft tissue adhesion or tears it becomes clear that a not so serious or too far gone case of frozen shoulder will react appropriately to soft tissue manipulations.

There are a variety of assessments that can help detect the muscles involved in a case of frozen shoulder. Book an assessment with a massage today.

In the mean time some stretches as preventative measures are just below. But first let us cover some important information on the progress of Frozen shoulder.

First, During the Freezing stage its important to keep the shoulder moving. Keep in mind that during this phase is typically the most painful but the most important to stay moving. When the shoulder begins to become too painful and the individual stops moving it or babies the shoulder it could excite phase two. What is in motion stays in motion so stay in motion, because a shoulder at rest could freeze.

Next, in the second phase, gentle stretching and myofascial release with a tennis ball or a lacrosse ball on the soft tissues associated with the shoulder capsule / Glenohumeral Joint will help. But err on the side of caution if your body says its enough then listen. Gentle stretches are the best. During this phase, if the phase lasts more than a couple months it would be a good idea to visit a doctor.

Third, After the thawing process, talk to a physical therapist to discover ways to fully recover via corrective exercise protocols.

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