Shoulder stuck? We Tell You Why & What to Do!

While the term “frozen shoulder” might sound like something you experience in winter, it’s actually a common term for an unpleasant medical condition: adhesive capulitis. We tell you what frozen shoulder is, what the symptoms are, and what you can do about it…

Frozen shoulder is…

According to the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA), frozen shoulder or adhesive capulitis is when the shoulder stiffens due to scar tissue; movement then becomes restricted and painful.

Frozen shoulder is caused by…

The exact cause may not be clear; however, some in the medical community believe factors like inflammation and autoimmune reactions play a key role. Other causes include:

  • reactions after injury/surgery
  • self-limiting movement due to pain from other conditions like: arthritis, bursitis, tendinitis, rotator cuff tear
  • immobilization – such as keeping your arm in a sling after surgery or fracture

Frozen shoulder symptoms…

Frozen shoulder is a condition that, according to APTA, can be labeled with four distinct stages. Their guidelines to the stages are as follows:

Stage 1.: “Pre-freezing” 1-3 months of symptoms such as pain and loss of motion, with symptoms worsening.

Stage 2: “Freezing” 3-9 months of progressive symptoms, typically worse at night.

Stage 3: “Frozen” 9-14 months of persistent symptoms, and you’ve lost quite a bit of motion.

Stage 4. “Thawing” 12-15 months of symptoms, but a large decrease in pain. Your motion is still limited, but you’re quickly increasingly able to complete daily activities with overhead movement.

What to do about a frozen shoulder…

Physical therapy is ideal in helping treat your frozen shoulder condition. Your physical therapist will assess you and identify the stage of your frozen shoulder, and work with you to help restore your movement. S/he will develop a custom treatment plan to address your condition and help restore the normal function of your shoulder. According to APTA data, exercise and manual therapy is most effective for those experiencing stage two or higher of this health condition. Thanks to direct access, you can call your physical therapist and make an appointment the same way you would with your doctor. After your initial appointment, your physical therapist’s office will work with your doctor’s office and insurance if more visits and/or a referral are needed.

If your shoulder, or any other part of your musculoskeletal system, is out of whack, we’d love to help get you moving again. Body One Physical Therapy is locally-owned and operated, with four locations serving Central Indiana: North Indianapolis, South Indianapolis, Fishers, and Zionsville. Our team of highly-trained, specialized, and caring physical therapists is ready to put our skills to work for you. Stop accepting pain and loss of motion and call Body One today!

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