“I fell and landed on my shoulder,” a patient once told me. He expressed himself with a concerned look on his face. He was worried about his daughter’s birthday party. In two days, all of her friends would be over and he felt as though he was not contributing as much as he should have been in order to prepare for the event. He told me that for some reason his arm was not moving as it normally would.
What Is Frozen Shoulder?
As this story is told, one may begin ask what could possibly be causing the gentleman’s problem. One answer is Adhesive Capsulitis, also known as Frozen Shoulder. Do you know someone who has received this diagnosis? If so, what you may not have known is that this diagnosis does not have a standard definition or classification. What it is does have are similar characteristics between the varying diagnosing parties.
What are the Characteristics of Frozen Shoulder?
What is known for certain is that there is a progressive loss of range of motion and that the pathology progresses through different stages. Let’s begin with identifying the commonly accepted three phases of Frozen Shoulder: freezing, frozen, and thawing phase. Each of these has different pain levels associated with them. Each phase is also associated with a varying range of motion that may improve or worsen, depending on what phase the person is in.
In general, Frozen Shoulder can take around two years to resolve naturally. So, can you imagine presenting that news to the gentleman we were discussing before?
Not being able to complete his normal life activities for two years would be hard to hear. The good news is that there are various interventions one can use to help manage the symptoms of Frozen Shoulder throughout the various phases. Two potential options are a passive range of motion of the glenohumeral joint (avoiding the painful range) and scapular mobilization, which are both examples of physical therapy interventions. Some physicians may choose to do a manipulation under anesthesia.
Get Assistance with Frozen Shoulder
If you want to learn more about skilled interventions to treat Frozen Shoulder, we are here to serve you. We aim to provide evidence-based interventions and help you along your rehabilitative care. The team at Rehab At Work provides expert knowledge and patient-first care. If you’d like to schedule a consultation, contact us today.
Article by Dr. De La Cruz, DPT, PT, Lanham Clinic