If you are familiar with this term, you have my sympathy. “Frozen Shoulder”, better known as Adhesive Capsulitis, can be a very painful condition of the shoulder. But believe it or not, it doesn’t have anything to do with the cold weather :)
Primary adhesive capsulitis is typically characterized by a progressive loss of mobility of the affected shoulder. The prevalence of this shoulder disorder is somewhere between 2-5% of the general population. Somewhat surprisingly for many of you, if you have Diabetes and/or Thyroid Disease, you are considered a much higher risk for developing secondary adhesive capsulitis compared to your counterparts. Other risk factors include individuals aged 40-65, females, and those who have a history of diagnosis in the contralateral limb.
Much like what we experience in the winter in Western PA, frozen shoulder is typically categorized into four stages. Unfortunately, some of these stages last much longer than our typical winter in Pennsylvania. 🥶
This pathology occurs as a continuum and is described by a staged progression of pain and mobility deficits. Most cases improve within 12-18 months but can persist for as long as noted below.
🔹Stage I - generally up to 3 months—> patients experience pain at the end range of motion only
🔹Stage II- can last anywhere from 3-9 month—> progressive loss of mobility, and is typically known as the “painful or freezing stage”
🔹Stage III- can last from 9-15 months—> “Frozen Stage” Pain may begin to improve but stiffness persists
🔹Stage IV- stiffness can persist anywhere from 15-24 months following onset—> pain begins to resolve an mobility begins to improve
Generally individuals will notice a progressive loss of mobility with reaching out to the side, reaching behind his/her neck, and with functional use of the affected shoulder.
Management of this condition should be categorized based on the level of tissue irritability.
Different treatment interventions can and should include the following: patient education, corticosteroid injections, modalities for pain relief, joint mobilization and manipulation, and stretching exercises.
🗣If you have a history of shoulder injury, rotator cuff tears, and/or one of the associated pathologies listed above, feel free to reach out to discuss your unique circumstances!