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We had a special guest come visit us at the clinic last month to discuss Frozen Shoulders. Consultant Kush Joshi discussed with our team of physiotherapists his experience and recommendations for treating frozen shoulder. Liaising with top consultants in their fields allows physiotherapists to provide high quality care to patients. 

Frozen shoulder otherwise known as adhesive capsulitis happens when the shoulder joint capsule thickens and becomes stiff and tight. The trademark sign that you could have a frozen shoulder is if you are experiencing intense pain in combination with being unable to move your arm. There are 3 stages of frozen shoulder which you will go through during the course of the injury: 

Stage 1 Freezing, a slow onset of pain that can last from six weeks to nine months. As the pain increases the movement decreases Which brings you to stage 2.

Frozen stage, there is a gradual decrease in pain however stiffness remains. 

Stage 3 is the thawing stage when movement and pain start to improve until finally you have returned back to full range and function.

How is it caused? 

Unfortunately, the reasons for frozen shoulders are not fully understood, there is no link between arm dominance or occupation. However a few factors might put you at a higher risk of developing it. Such as Diabetes, hypothyroidism, Parkinson’s Disease or if you have had to immobilise your shoulder for a period of time. Not being able to move your shoulder and being in high levels of pain can be very stressful and have profound effects on daily life, therefore, it is essential to seek support. 

An assessment by your Physiotherapist and/or imaging tests from your consultants can diagnose frozen shoulders. Once you have received a diagnosis a treatment plan with a physiotherapist is highly recommended, as not addressing the issue could leave you with symptoms up to as long as 3 years. Physiotherapists will work with you to improve the mobility of your arm with manual therapy techniques and guiding you through movements you can do independently. Once there have been improvements in the range of movement you will begin strengthening exercises to the surrounding musculature to prevent further injury to the shoulder. 

As I have mentioned it is very important to seek professional diagnosis and advice, however, 

here are some safe things you can do at home if you think you have a frozen shoulder: 

Firstly you should reduce painful movements of the shoulder and avoid lifting heavy objects.

Secondly, trying to increase joint movement by attempting simple stretches such as holding a broom and guiding the affected shoulder with the other arm through pain free movement. 

Another way to try this is by sitting facing a table and gently sliding a towel to lessen the friction

And call us if you need to see a Chartered Physiotherapist for treatment on 020 7435 4910

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