Adhesive Capsulitis A.K.A. Frozen Shoulder

Adhesive capsulitis or more commonly referred to as frozen shoulder, is when a person loses the ability to move a shoulder around in all directions without pain. The term frozen shoulder best describes this problem because the shoulder becomes stiff and it may not be able to move at all.

Before getting any further ahead, let's briefly discuss how you should be able to move your shoulders in all directions without any discomfort. Testing your shoulder movement is as simple as:

  • With both arms, reach up toward the sky.
  • Hold your arms straight out in front of you.
  • Raise your arms to the sides of your body so that they are level with your shoulder.
  • Pretend that you are pulling something out of your back pocket.
  • Pretend you are trying to unzip the back of your dress.

All these motions should not cause you pain or discomfort. If they do, then Chiro-Med Rehab Centre urges you to see your health professional.

Causes Of Frozen Shoulder

Adhesive capsulitis (frozen shoulder) develops when the connective tissue in your shoulder joint tightens and restricts your joint's movement. Often, this occurs after a time when you have been less active because of another injury, such as a rotator cuff injury, a broken arm or recovering from a surgery.

Another explanation of what causes adhesive capsulitis is that the joint capsule of the shoulder joint has ligaments that keep the shoulder bones together. When inflamed, the capsule impedes in the shoulder bones ability to move freely.

There are even times in which there are no causes, it just happens.
There are risk factors though and they include:

  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Open heart surgery
  • Shoulder surgery
  • Diabetes
  • Cervical disk disease of the neck

People over the age of 40 are at higher risk for adhesive capsulitis, especially women.

Symptoms Of Frozen Shoulder

The most obvious symptom of adhesive capsulitis is a decreased motion in the shoulder area. Pain and stiffness are also possible indicators that frozen shoulder has set in. Pain prevents you from moving your arm and the lack of movement leads to stiffness. Before long, you become unable to perform activities such as reaching over your head or behind you.

Does The Shoulder Really Freeze?

No, sometimes frozen shoulder can cause the shoulder to just stop moving. This generally occurs if you don't use your shoulder enough or if you use it the wrong way; the shoulder develops scar tissue that stops it from easily moving around.

Diagnosing Frozen Shoulder

A physical examination of the shoulder is the first step to diagnose frozen shoulder. A health professional can check for the range of motion and condition of the shoulder. If the health professional is not certain, then he or she may order blood and urine tests to clarify the situation.

In the event of an injury, an x-ray of the shoulder joint can help and an MRI scan may be required to evaluate the severity of adhesive capsulitis.

Chiro-Med Rehab Centre in Richmond Hill is a trusted health care provider and has assisted people for years in obtaining a proper diagnosis of adhesive capsulitis.

Frozen Shoulder Treatment

Diligent physical therapy is important and treatment can include ultrasound, ice packs, electric stimulation, range-of-motion exercise maneuvers, and when the patient is ready, strengthening exercises. Physical therapy can take several weeks to months for full recovery. This depends on the severity of the scarring of the tissues around the shoulder.

It is very important for people with a frozen shoulder to avoid reinjuring the shoulder tissues during the rehabilitation period. These individuals should avoid sudden, jerking motions or heavy lifting with the affected shoulder.

Chiro-Med Rehab Centre in Richmond Hill can help you get on the road to recovery. Our physiotherapists have exercise and rehabilitation therapies that are designed to help each individual; and every treatment plan is tailor-made. There's no need to suffer any longer, give Chiro-Med Rehab Centre in Richmond Hill a call today.

March 7, 2014

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