Frozen Shoulder

Adhesive capsulitis is the medical term for what is typically referred to as frozen shoulder.  There is a difference between the two ailments as frozen shoulder syndrome is the general term for any shoulder stiffness or pain.  On the other hand, adhesive capsulitis is indicated by stiffness and pain in one’s shoulder joint which causes sufferers to have restricted movement of the shoulder.  Medically speaking, the tissues within the joint capsule become thicker and shorter and are thus inclined to adhere together and to the bone.  It is therefore imperative to get an early diagnosis for shoulder pain and restricted movement caused by a frozen shoulder condition as delaying treatment can lead to lingering restrictions in movement over the long term.  A proper diagnosis is determined by a chiropractor or physician and is ultimately based on the symptoms you are experiencing.  This is because radiographic images sometimes return as unremarkable or in layman’s terms, show no defect or abnormality.  Nevertheless, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or x-rays can assist in ruling out other probable causes of any pain and stiffness in one’s shoulder area.

The three stages of frozen shoulder

  • Stage one is referred to as the freezing stage. It is at this particular stage that one’s shoulder has limited range of motion.  There may not be any pain associated with stage one unless one exceeds their limited range of movement.  The intial stage of frozen shoulder may have resulted from neck problems, myocardial infarction, stroke, mastectomy or prolonged disuse of the shoulder.
  • Stage two is also known as the frozen stage. Increased pain occurs as the fluid in the joint becomes thickened eventually resulting in almost no movement of the shoulder whatsoever.  Frozen shoulder or adhesive capsulitis is a likely definitive diagnosis in stage two.
  • Stage three is commonly called the thawing stage. In this stage one’s pain will decrease in correlation to the inflammation diminishing.  Range of motion begins to return in the thawing stage, however, if a person fails to receive treatment 100% recovery cannot be assured.

What does a chiropractor do for patients with frozen shoulder?

First time patients undergo a physical examination and have their medical history taken to diagnose the cause of one’s shoulder pain.  Once a cause has been determined, a treatment plan is developed especially for you to relieve you of your shoulder pain.

How is adhesive capsulitis treated?

Chiropractors are inclined to treat frozen shoulder or adhesive capsulitis without invasive surgery or medications whenever possible.  In fact, anti-inflammatory medications are not usually advised.  Treatment may consist of moist heat, ultrasonography, passive or relaxed stretching (that is, stretching done by your chiropractor), and shoulder mobilization (exercise).  In addition, your chiropractor may manipulate your cervical spine for shoulder complaints.  The great news is that approximately 90% of patients find relief for their frozen shoulder syndrome.  One thing that patients should be aware of is that frozen shoulder syndrome will not disappear overnight.  In fact, with the help from your chiropractor patients may experience resolution of their pain in a month or so if they comply with chiropractic planned treatment.

Your chiropractor can help you with your frozen shoulder problem and get you on the right road to a pain free life.  Simply call (949) 784-4507 for an appointment or click here to make your appointment online now.