Most of the patients visiting our Ealing chiropractors are suffering from back pain, poor posture, or a degenerative condition, like arthritis. However, shoulder injuries are also common, particularly amongst active people who enjoy playing tennis or golf.
One of the most common types of shoulder injuries we see at our chiropractic clinic is “Frozen Shoulder”, also known as Adhesive Capsulitis. It is a painful condition which causes stiffness in the shoulder joint, limiting mobility. Fortunately, it does respond well to chiropractic treatment.
In this guide, our Ealing chiropractor is going to share more detail on Adhesive Capsulitis, explaining how it occurs, what the symptoms are, and how it is treated. If you suspect you are suffering from frozen shoulder, why not make a booking with one of our chiropractic team at the Spine & Joint Centre in Ealing by calling 020 8900 9004.
What Are The Symptoms Of Frozen Shoulder?
The signs and symptoms of frozen shoulder are fairly minor at first and gradually worsen over time. There are also three stages with different symptoms, with each stage lasting between several weeks and several months.
In the freezing stage, you will experience stiffness, inflammation, and pain in your shoulder joint. Pain increases whenever you move your shoulder and the joints range of motion gradually becomes limited. This stage can last anywhere between 5 weeks and 10 months.
The frozen stage comes next. In this stage, you will experience less pain, however, the shoulder joint will become extremely stiff, to the point where you struggle to move your shoulder. This stage usually lasts between 4 to 6 months.
In the thawing stage, you should find that movement gradually returns to the joint.
How Does A Frozen Shoulder Occur?
The shoulder joint is a ball-and-socket joint, which involves three main bones: the shoulder blade (scapula), collarbone (clavicle) and upper arm bone (humerus).
The top of the arm bone fits into a socket within the shoulder blade. It is kept in place by the shoulder capsule, which consists of strong connective tissue wrapping the bones together. Synovial fluid runs through the joint to provide some lubrication to help the joint move freely.
A frozen shoulder occurs when the shoulder capsule develops adhesions (thicker bands of tissue) and becomes tighter. The amount of synovial fluid released can also be reduced, which increases pain and inflammation in the joint.
What Causes A Frozen Shoulder?
Doctors don’t know the precise reason for frozen shoulder, however, they have identified several risk factors which increase the risk of it occurring:
- Immobility or reduced mobility
Individuals who have had to immobilise their shoulder due to health problems are more likely to experience a frozen shoulder. This includes individuals with conditions like rotator cuff injury, stroke, shoulder/arm surgery, or a broken arm.
- Systemic diseases
There are several diseases which can increase the risk of frozen shoulder, including diabetes, overactive thyroid, under-active thyroid, cardiovascular disease and Parkinson’s disease
How Is A Frozen Shoulder Treated?
There are several options for treating this condition, including:
Over-the-counter analgesics like ibuprofen and aspirin can be used to mitigate the pain and inflammation caused by a frozen shoulder.
Visiting a chiropractor is one of the best ways to address a frozen shoulder. They can deliver chiropractic adjustments which ensure the shoulder is correctly aligned. A chiropractor can also teach a variety of mobility exercises which will improve the range of motion in your shoulder and help to resolve your frozen shoulder much faster.
If a frozen shoulder persists for more than 18 months, the following treatment options may be useful:
- Joint distension
Sterile water is injected into the joint capsule in an effort to stretch out the stiff tissue and restore mobility.
- Steroid injections
Doctors may sometimes recommend a corticosteroid injection into the shoulder for pain relief and to improve shoulder mobility. This approach is mostly used in the earlier stages of the condition, when it is most painful.
- Shoulder manipulation
The patient is placed under general anaesthetic before the doctor moves the joint in various directions to loosen the shoulder capsule.
If all of the other options fail, shoulder surgery may be required. The surgeon will remove scar tissue and adhesions from inside the shoulder joint to restore mobility.
Visiting our Ealing Chiropractors
If you believe you are suffering from frozen shoulder, our team of chiropractors at The Spine & Joint Centre are here to help you. To book an appointment call our clinic on 020 8900 9004.