Frozen Shoulder (Adhesive Capsulitis)
What our patients say…
“I fell off my bike during a race last year, afterwards by shoulder became incredibly painful and stiff. I went to my GP who told me to take painkillers and that it might last 4 years! I wasn’t happy, so went to see Robert Griffiths. He told me in straight terms that it was going to take time, but that there were lots of things we could do to improve the pain and stiffness without taking medication. I followed his advice and 14 months later I have a fit again shoulder. Bob went out of his way to explain everything to me, including what other exercise I could do while injured. I trust his no nonsense yet friendly approach and would recommend to everyone.” Mark Burgess, Broker and Triathlete
Frozen shoulder is a very painful, persistent stiffness of the shoulder joint, making it difficult to carry out a full range of movement.
The condition is more common in women than men and is more likely in people with a history of surgery, traumatic injury to the shoulder, diabetes, heart disease, lung disease, an overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism) and Dupuytren’s contracture (a condition causing one or more fingers to bend into the palm of your hand).
The symptoms of frozen shoulder can vary greatly from person to person. Most patients find it difficult to perform everyday tasks, such as dressing, driving and sleeping comfortably. The symptoms advance slowly and are felt in three stages, spread over a number of months or years. The stages of frozen shoulder are described below.
Stage 1 (usually lasts 2-9 months)
Your shoulder will start to ache and feel stiff before becoming very painful. The pain is often worse at night and when you lie on the affected side.
Stage 2 (usually lasts 4-12 months)
Known as the ‘adhesive’ stage, your shoulder becomes increasingly stiff but the pain does not usually get worse. Your shoulder muscles may start to waste slightly because they are not being used.
Stage 3 (can last from 5 months – 4 years)
Known as the ‘recovery’ stage, your shoulder will gradually start to regain movement. The pain will also fade, although it may recur from time to time as the stiffness eases.
Frozen shoulder occurs when there is thickening and tightening of the soft tissue surrounding your shoulder joint, this makes movement stiff and painful. It is more common in people who have had a recent knock or a fall on the shoulder, yet the exact cause of frozen shoulder is not fully understood.
Frozen shoulder can be diagnosed following a full case history and physical exam. Further tests are usually only needed to rule out other underlying conditions, such as arthritis or a fracture.
Treatment for a frozen shoulder aims to improve the range of motion, reduce the pain and shorten the recovery time of the condition.
1. Following a full case history, physical, orthopaedic and neurological examination. We will begin treatment on the injured area.
2. Treatment consists of soft tissue release techniques, shoulder joint mobilisation, dry needling (medical acupuncture), ultrasound and rehab exercises. We will also give you tailored home exercise and a stretching programme to accelerate recovery.
3. It is also important to make changes to your daily lifestyle and work environment to ease your pain. We will discuss these simple changes with you and also advise you which forms of exercise you can and can’t do.
Please note, that every person is different and we will treat you depending on your individual problem.
We will guide you through an easy to follow home stretching and mobilisation program, which is essential to accelerating your recovery.
See other conditions we treat.