Have you ever experienced pain in your shoulders as well as limited shoulder movements? If you do, the condition you are having is most likely a frozen shoulder, otherwise known as adhesive capsulitis. It is the second most common shoulder joint injury. Individuals over the age of 40 and particularly woman are more susceptible to experiencing frozen shoulder. One of the most common causes of frozen shoulder is the immobility that may result during recovery from a shoulder injury, broken arm or a stroke.
It can be said that frozen shoulder is the most commonly misdiagnosed shoulder joint injury. However, one distinctive feature of frozen shoulder is that it has three phases, it can also resolve itself without treatment within 9 months to 2 years. Throughout this self-recovery process, there are three phases- freezing, frozen and thawing.
Freezing stage: Individuals will experience pain and a gradual increase in stiffness in the shoulder joint, especially when turning the arm outwards (away from the body). This stage lasts between 6 weeks to 9 months.
Frozen stage: Individuals will experience a decreased level of pain and eventually no pain. Stiffness would be the main symptomatic presentation during this stage, which lasts from 4 to 6 months.
Thawing stage: Movements of the shoulder joint will slowly return. This commonly occurs within 6 months to 2 years.
It is crucial to note that although frozen shoulder is a condition of the shoulder, our body works in synergy. The muscles, tendons, ligaments and bones work together to maintain the optimum function of the musculoskeletal system. Hence, a dysfunction of the shoulder joint would place an increased amount of stress to the structures surrounding the upper ribs, upper back and lower neck.
With that being said, we have many patients that present with frozen shoulder in our centre. Their upper back and lower neck musculatures are often extremely stiff and sore due to it overworking to compensate the immobile shoulder. Besides that, upper rib, upper back and lower cervical subluxations are commonly found as well due to the muscle imbalances. Therefore, it is extremely crucial that the shoulder and spinal segments remain mobile as much as possible during this process. This will not only provide a certain level of symptomatic relieve, patients would also experience a more smooth and speedy recovery.
If you suspect that you have this condition, feel free to give Healthworks a call to schedule an appointment. We have professionals that are ever willing to assess and give you a better understanding of your condition.