Also called sticky shoulders and formally known as adhesive capsulitis, frozen shoulder is a painful condition whereby the shoulders simply seize up. When athletes suffer from frozen shoulder, it can make it impossible for them to engage competitively in the various sports until they seek proper frozen shoulder treatment. However, some people might mistake frozen shoulder as a type of repetitive strain injury when in actual fact, it is not. It’s actually more like a disease where the shoulder is under-used or after trauma received to the shoulder area.
Identifying Causes of Frozen Shoulder
When the connective tissues around the shoulder joint become inflamed, the said tissues will become tight and thick. Adhesions occur, resulting in lesser synovial fluid in the area, and the shoulder become immobilized. This can happen over a period of 2 to 9 months. Common causes include:
- Long period of not using the shoulder due to surgery, sickness or injury
- Weak immune system
- Hormonal imbalance
- After trauma received to the shoulder area
- And more
Identifying Symptoms of Frozen Shoulder
- Limited mobility
- Shoulder pain especially when lying on affected area in the night
- Increasingly restricted movement of the shoulder
- Hard for arms to reach upwards
- Hard for arms to reach behind the back
How to Treat Frozen Shoulder
It is estimated that around 2% of the population suffer from frozen shoulder symptoms. There is not one cure-all treatment used for targeting frozen shoulder but if you use a combination of the following treatment methods, it is more likely than not that you can recover from frozen shoulder:
- Icing: Using an ice pack to decrease shoulder pain and the inflammation can work if you perform this a few times per day, up to 15 minutes per session.
- Medication: Using an anti-inflammatory medication or steroid injection can help. Common medications include Ibuprofen and Aspirin.
- Outpatient surgery: This treatment method should only be considered when other treatment methods fail. Usually, the type of surgery performed includes using an arthroscope to regain the lost range of motion.
- Physical therapy: The most common treatment for frozen shoulder, physical therapists can help introduce a therapy program (which can be home care based) where the patient performs a range of motion exercises to stretch the shoulder and recover the lost range of motion.
Train Away Pain’s Upper Extremity Therapy
At Train Away Pain, we have physical therapists and sports medicine specialists who are well trained in upper extremity therapy which can target frozen shoulder. The outcomes you can expect include an increase in strength, flexibility, range of motion, and decrease in pain for your shoulder. Remember, early intervention is key when you want the best rehab results for your frozen shoulder. Not only do our physical therapists can help you heal optimally from the frozen shoulder pain, you will also be able to learn prevention strategies to avoid re-injury!