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Frozen Shoulder: A Common disorder

This is a very common condition affecting the age group of 40 to 60 years mostly affects female compared to male. It causes stiffness and pain and also affects range of motion of shoulder joint.

It is very important to treat the condition. If left untreated it may have adverse effect.

How does it happens?

The process starts with any injury like fracture or inflammation like bursitis or tendinitis of rotator cuff.

Inflammation causes pain which limits the movements of shoulder joint. Due to prolonged immobilization tissues around the joint contracts and thickens and capacity to stretch limits. This further causes limitation of movements and reduction of joint space and joint fluid.

In advanced cases adhesion happen in joint. Frozen shoulder develops in 2 to 9 months. Although pain reduces slowly but stiffness and limitation of movements continues.

Who gets frozen shoulder?

It is not very clear why some people gets it but following are the group of people who gets it

  • It affects people who had rotator cuff injury or tendinitis.

  • Also it affects 10 to 20 % people with diabetes.

  • Post stroke, heart condition or surgery

  • Thyroid disorders, Parkinson disease

  • Mastectomy

  • 40 to 60 years mostly women

Symptoms: There are 3 stages

1. Freezing stage:

  • Dull achy pain around shoulder and upper arm

  • Difficulty in sleep during night as pain worsens

  • Lasts for 2 to 9 months

  • Limited shoulder movement

2. Frozen stage:

  • Pain reduces but stiffness increases

  • Further limitation in movements of shoulder

  • Lasts from 4 to 12 months

3. Thawing stage:

  • Improvement in the range of movement. It starts going back to normal.

  • Takes from 6 months to 2 years

Diagnosis:

  • Clinical signs and symptoms

  • MRI

Prevention:

If you had a shoulder injury or arm injury or post-surgery (heart condition or mastectomy) it is always important to seek for physiotherapy for advice and shoulder exercises.

Treatment:

  • Pain killers: Talk to your GP for pain killers so that you can sleep comfortably in night.

  • Moist heat and Ultrasound therapy- for pain relief and improving extensibility of joint capsule.

  • Gentle stretches, range of motion exercises for shoulder, Shoulder pulley exercises etc.

  • Mobilization techniques- gliding techniques, Aggressive stretches

  • Progression in stretching exercises, Range of motion exercises

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