Recovering from frozen shoulder often takes a while, but if you are looking for frozen shoulder treatment in Visalia, our physical therapy treatment can help every step of the way.
The shoulder is a ball-and-socket joint, with the upper arm bone (humerus) serving as the “ball” and fitting into the “socket” of the shoulder blade (scapula). The bones and other structures of the shoulder are surrounded by a structure called the shoulder capsule, which is made up of strong connective tissue that keeps the shoulder stable. Adhesive capsulitis, or frozen shoulder, occurs when scar tissue forms within the shoulder. This causes the shoulder capsule to thicken and tighten around the shoulder joint, which means there is less room to move the shoulder normally.
Frozen shoulder affects up to 5% of the population, but it’s not clear why it develops. In general, it’s believed that one of the leading factors is not moving the shoulder normally for a long period of time. People between the ages of 40-60, women and those with arthritis, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and other health conditions are also more likely to develop it.
Frozen shoulder usually develops slowly and gets progressively worse with more pain and loss of motion over time. This is typically broken down into the following stages:
- Stage 1 (pre-freezing): symptoms start and gradually get worse over 1-3 months
- Stage 2 (freezing): generally occurs 3-9 months after the start of symptoms; any movement of the shoulder causes pain, which is even worse at night
- Stage 3 (frozen): occurs within 9-14 months; the shoulder becomes more stiff, making it more difficult to move and rotate it
- Stage 4 (thawing): occurs within 12-15 months; pain decreases significantly, especially at night, range of motion begins to improve, making it easier to move
This shows that frozen shoulder follows a long course of development and eventual recovery, but following a physical therapy treatment program can expedite this process.
The goal of physical therapy is to control pain and increase strength and flexibility, and physical therapists have specific treatments that are designed to help patients improve at each stage of frozen shoulder. In general, treatment consists of stretching exercises, manual (hands-on therapy), strengthening exercises and returning to daily activities.
The following findings from a 2007 study clearly identify the value of physical therapy for treating patients with frozen shoulder:
With supervised treatment, most patients with adhesive capsulitis will experience resolution with nonoperative measures in a relatively short period. Only a small percentage of patients eventually require operative treatment.