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Frozen Shoulder (Adhesive Capsulitis)

Frozen shoulder is characterized by pain and loss of motion in the shoulder. It most commonly occurs between the age of 40-60 years old with no clear predisposition based on gender, arm dominance, or occupation.

The causes of frozen shoulder are not fully understood. The process involves thickening and contracture of the capsule surrounding the shoulder joint. Frozen shoulder occurs more commonly in individuals with diabetes affecting 10-20% of these individuals. Other medical conditions associated with increased risk for frozen shoulder include hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, and hormonal metabolic changes such as those associated with perimenopause and menopause. Prior injury to the shoulder such as a labrum or rotator cuff tear can also increase the risk for frozen shoulder.

There are generally 3 stages of frozen shoulder.
1. Freezing: This stage is associated with a slow onset of pain. As pain increases the shoulder motion is reduced. This stage is generally 6 weeks to 9 months long.
2. Frozen: Slow improvement in pain occurs during this stage, although stiffness remains. This stage generally last 4 to 9 months.
3. Thawing Stage: Shoulder motion slowly returns during this stage. This stage generally lasts from 5 to 26 months.

Research has shown that physical therapy speeds up the recovery from frozen shoulder. These techniques include specific shoulder joint mobilization, soft tissue mobilization, and individualized exercise prescription for range of motion and circulation.

 

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Core Physical Therapy · 443 NE Knott Street · Portland, Oregon 97212

Kellie Barnes

Kellie Barnes, MOMT, MPT

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