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Causes and Solutions for Your Frozen Shoulder

Causes and Solutions for Your Frozen Shoulder

Man holding his shoulder

Causes and Solutions for Your Frozen Shoulder

Shoulder pain is one of the most common disorders treated by the medical profession today. In 2000, the direct costs for the treatment of shoulder dysfunction in the United States totaled over $7 billion. The majority of these treatments include medication, physical therapy, and surgery. One of the most common shoulder conditions is adhesive capsulitis; also know as frozen shoulder.

What Is Frozen Shoulder?

The syndrome of frozen shoulder relates to a stiff shoulder in which, both active and passive, range of motion is restricted and painful. It can develop after direct trauma to the shoulder, overuse, or unfortunately idopathically (unknown cause). Symptoms first begin when patients start to notice that they develop pain when they move their shoulder. Range of motion has not yet become limited just slightly painful.

Why Do Common Shoulder Treatments Fail?

Most people, at this point, have one of 3 options; take medication, ignore the pain and hope it goes away, or just don’t use that shoulder as much. All of these have serious detrimental effects and speed up the frozen shoulder. Pain medication does nothing to actually fix the cause of pain. It just turns off the signals to the brain so you don’t feel the pain. Once the medication wears off, the pain will return, causing the patient to constantly have to rely on their medications. When patients decide to limit the use of the shoulder or ignore their symptoms they again speed up the frozen shoulder. Once patients start limiting the activity of the shoulder they start to develop the limited range of motion. Scar tissue will begin to develop in the shoulder capsule limiting how far the shoulder joint will move and will cause increased pain with all movement. This is a dangerous development because as the shoulder becomes more restricted and painful patients will naturally use it less, allowing more scar tissue to develop, range of motion will become further restricted and movement becomes more painful. This is the cycle of how the shoulder becomes “frozen”. Symptoms will continue to develop until the patient can not move their arm or the range of motion is severely restricted. Unfortunately this is the point that most patients come into my office.

At this point most patients have seen multiple doctors looking for a solution to get their pain free range of motion back. What I typically hear from patients is they were given a few at home exercises to do and if it doesn’t clear up, come back. After the symptoms continue to get worse most patients hear there is nothing else that can be done unless they want surgery to possibly correct the issue.

Living Health Integrative Medicine’s Approach To Frozen Shoulder

At Living Health I see many patients with shoulder complaints. Shoulder pain is one of the most common reasons patients seek treatment. Frozen shoulder responds very well to conservative care. As a chiropractor, also using physical therapy, I have a wide range of treatment options for all types of frozen shoulder cases. No two shoulder cases are the same, so based on your individual case and symptoms I develop a personalized treatment plan for your condition. Treatments typically consist of myofascial release (muscle work) to help break up the scar tissue that has developed, along with joint mobilization to help restore motion to the restricted shoulder joint.

A Frozen Shoulder Case Study

This is an example of a recent case of frozen shoulder that was successfully treated with conservative care in our office. This patient had started to develop decreased and painful range motion over the past year and her symptoms were getting worse every week. It was to the point that she could barely move her arm. Her orthopedic doctor stated that her only option was surgery. She did not want to go under the knife so we began care in the office. She diligently showed up for appointments and followed the treatment plan. After only 12 weeks of care she once again has full range of motion of her shoulder.

If you or someone you know has been dealing with shoulder pain, don’t wait and let it develop into a case of frozen shoulder. The earlier your complaint can be diagnosed the quicker you can receive the care and treatment you need to prevent frozen shoulder. If you are having shoulder pain, call the office for a free consultation to see if we can help you.