Frozen shoulder can not only be uncomfortable to live with, but can severely affect your enjoyment of life. It can be frustratingly slow to heal, so looking at multiple treatment options can be a great idea.
But will physiotherapy help a frozen shoulder? That’s what we’re going to look at here. We’ll see how physiotherapy can help, see what exactly frozen shoulder is, and answer some FAQs. Read on to find out more!
What is a Frozen Shoulder?
Also called adhesive capsulitis, frozen shoulders can occur due to the thickening and tightening of the shoulder capsule joint. This restricts the range of movement and motions of the shoulders, making it feel frozen.
It may happen because of an injury to the shoulder or keeping the shoulder in the same position for an extended period, such as after an arm fracture or shoulder surgery. It may also happen when the areas surrounding the shoulders are affected.
There are typically three stages to a frozen shoulder:
1. Freezing Stage
This stage lasts from two to nine months, and the movement of the shoulder activity is highly restricted. At this stage, the pain can start to become intense.
The freezing state is the beginning of the limitation of the movements. Any slightest movements may cause pain and restrict the movement of the shoulder. During this stage, the patient should start working to reduce the pain through physiotherapy.
2. Frozen Stage
This stage ranges from four to 12 months. During this stage, there is a slow reduction in the intensity of the pain and an increase in stiffness is often seen. Thus, the movements of the shoulders become more restricted.
A frozen state is when the pain has been persistent for a long period, but the intensity may be low. Yet the stiffness of the shoulder increases, and this stage usually lasts up to a year.
3. Thawing Stage
This stage lasts from five months to two years, and improvement both in the pain intensity and the shoulder movement is seen during this period. Eventually, all pain will subside, and you’ll get a full range of motion back to your shoulder.
Causes of Frozen Shoulder
Age and gender have a lot to do with frozen shoulders. For example, women above the age of 40 have a high risk of frozen shoulder. In females, the calcium content of the bones and levels of progesterone reduce after 40 years compared to men.
Apart from that, there are no clear causes of frozen shoulders yet diabetes, hyperthyroidism, Parkinson’s disease, and cardiac issues are considered to be the risk factors for frozen shoulders. Immobilisation of the shoulder often is the major reason for frozen shoulders.
Will Physiotherapy Help a Frozen Shoulder?
Physiotherapy is considered to be the fastest way to recover from a frozen shoulder. The aim of physiotherapy for frozen shoulders is to restore mobility, and reduce pain and stiffness. It also reduces inflammation in the shoulder and the surrounding areas.
Physiotherapy is best applied in the early stages of a frozen shoulder. Pain management and gentle exercise can be expected from these physiotherapy sessions. You will also be advised on postural exercises and specific stretches.
Depending on the severity of the condition, your therapist might do an ultrasound, heat treatments and acupuncture.
The healing usually takes two to three years. Without any physiotherapy, not only will the healing time take longer, but you’ll also be in more pain. Even in the freezing and frozen stages, physiotherapy can help with mobility and allow you to have a good quality of life.
Frozen Shoulder – FAQs
Can frozen shoulders be completely cured by physiotherapy?
In most cases, yes! Physiotherapy help frozen shoulder is considered one of the most effective forms of treatment for a frozen shoulder. The patient needs to follow the sessions regularly to see the results. Physiotherapy allows you to stretch your shoulder muscles gradually and thus helps in regaining mobility with time.
If you have already been dealing with a frozen shoulder for a long time, your doctor might suggest a combination of physiotherapy with alternative treatments, such as medicine. A medical professional will guide you with the plan of treatment as needed.
Can a chiropractor help frozen shoulders?
Yes, chiropractic care is another effective way to help you with frozen shoulder. This too can help you loosen up your stiff shoulder and speed up the recovery process allowing you to manage your range of motions.
What if the frozen shoulder progresses?
The progressive stage is the adhesive stage, where the intensity of the pain reduces but the stiffness increases, leading to hindering the shoulder movements. The pain may stay for at least one year if left untreated. You need to start physiotherapy as soon as possible before it gets worse.
Do frozen shoulders require surgery?
Surgery is very rare when it comes to treating a frozen shoulder. Getting physiotherapy is mostly the best way to recover from this issue. It helps in the reduction of pain and speeds up recovery. This is only usually recommended when no other treatment options are working.
What are the other options for treating frozen shoulders?
Apart from physiotherapy, other options such as chiropractic care, medications such as corticosteroids, and numbing injections can be considered. Over-the-counter medications are also a good idea when the pain levels increase above normal levels.
If nothing still works, arthroscopic surgery may be considered to loosen up the shoulder joint, but this is rare. Other options include practising proper posture and regular exercise.
While frozen shoulder can last for a frustratingly long time, physiotherapy help frozen shoulder will be a great way to speed up that healing process while also increasing your mobility. It’s important to work with your doctor and physiotherapist and doctor to find the right plan of action.
Eventually, your frozen shoulder will start thawing, and you can look forward to a pain-free future. In the meantime, attend regular physiotherapy sessions, and hopefully the end to your pain can come sooner rather than later.