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Frozen Shoulder Syndrome.

Did you know that frozen shoulder syndrome is common, and affects 2-5% of the population !

Frozen shoulder affects slightly more females than males typically between 40 and 60 years of age.

The non-dominant arm (i.e. left arm in most people) is more likely to be involved, although about 12% of people are affected on both sides (bilaterally)If both shoulders freeze, I have found that the second shoulder overlaps by about 6–9 months.

Frozen shoulder syndrome is much more common in diabetics, affecting between

10 and 20%. It lasts for an average of 30 months, although one recently published study showed that up to 60% of people still had some symptoms after 10 years.

All experts agree that, in the long term, it is preferable to have some sort of physical therapy.

The natural progression of this condition is well documented.

Over the course of 30 months the frozen shoulder passes through three phases: freezing, frozen and thawing.

The freezing (painful) phase often lasts between three and eight months.

Severe night pain is a common with people often complaining that they are unable to sleep on the affected side.

If they do manage to drift off, they are soon awoken in agony.

People find they are arranging pillows to support the arm and that they must ‘grab’ sleep where they can.

The pain often follows these patterns.

1. A constant ‘internal’ dull burning ache.

2. Pain down the outside of the upper arm.

3. Severe sharp catching pain after certain movements with pain lasting a few minutes.

It is worth noting that some experts talk of a ‘pre- adhesive’ stage, before the freezing phase. Here patients present with signs and symptoms of what is termed ‘impingement syndrome’. This is where there is still movement but there is a catching in certain positions.

The only signs that there is a frozen shoulder would be if a camera were placed within the joint (arthroscopy). This reveals some reddening of the synovial capsule and an increase in thickening of the capsule.

This is followed by the frozen (stiff) phase, which lasts between four and 12 months,

there may still be night pain but this usually diminishes as shoulder mobility decreases.

Here patients are usually able to sleep but find it increasingly difficult to perform daily chores. This case is especially so for those poor people who are affected on both sides.

So many of the menial tasks we thoughtlessly perform become titanic achievements.

Pain can often radiate into the forearm or hand, and in some cases the hand can become swollen & painful.

The pain may also start at the back of the shoulder in the region of the triceps muscle, due to a triceps tendonitis.

Spontaneous recovery of mobility (thawing) follows over the next four to 12 months although full recovery is commonly protracted.

Occasionally people may emerge after 18 months to find they are almost fully recovered,

however in my experience this is rare, due to the muscle atrophy (muscle wastage) caused by the immobility of the arm during the second phase of this condition, not to mention the loss of muscle strength to the supporting structures.

Without treatment, even after the thawing phase, a restriction of mobility may often persist for several years.

The normal course of action once diagnosed is analgesic drugs, a course of hydrocortisone injections into the site and possibly even surgical procedures.

At our tried and tested treatment plan for this condition focuses on soft tissue release, trigger point pain therapy & mobilisation techniques to help you regain full range of movement followed by a specific 3 phase rehab exercise plan to regain muscle tone.

Contact the Therapist Now

for your free consultation. Contact Chris: 07887 898159.

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