Chiropractic and Frozen Shoulder
Frozen Shoulder and Shoulder Pain
Frozen Shoulder, also known as Adhesive Capsulitis, is a common condition presenting with arm and shoulder pain and stiffness. It affects roughly 2-3% of the population or over 200K cases in the US each year.
The symptoms of frozen shoulder can sneak up on you over a period of one or even two years. Movements of the shoulder become restricted and range of motion is limited. Pain is present, often worsening at night. Frozen shoulder most often occurs in patients ranging from the ages of 40 to 70 years old, though it can also affect children.
The shoulder joints are subject to injury or ailment for one major reason—they are extremely mobile. Shoulder joints have almost 360 degrees of movement. As a result, you sacrifice stability for mobility. We require this great range of motion to complete a wide variety of tasks. Repetition of these tasks over time can cause shoulder problems.
Frozen Shoulder Symptoms
As stated before, frozen shoulder can take a long time to set in. Those who have suffered from frozen shoulder report mild pain that slowly gets more painful resulting in decreased range of motion that feels more “locked up” over time.
As the shoulder becomes more painful, fibrous adhesions start to build up in the shoulder joint and mobility becomes more affected. This extra tissue in the joint of the shoulder prevents fluid from fully lubricating the joint. Eventually, the shoulder joint gets so stiff and painful that, without treatment, it can severely impact your ability to work, play, and enjoy activities that require using your shoulder.
Causes of Frozen Shoulder (Adhesive Capsulitis)
Frozen Shoulder (Adhesive Capsulitis) can set in for a variety of reasons. Many times, frozen shoulder occurs due to overuse or improper lifting techniques. Whenever you move the shoulder, the shoulder joint can suffer micro-injuries. Over time this results in prolonged pain and stiffness.
Frozen shoulder can also set in after arm and shoulder surgery is performed or even after a mastectomy (breast cancer surgery). Any time the arm is restricted from moving for long periods of time the shoulder joint can stiffen. This is due to inflammation and/or scar tissue setting into the joints that do not move.
Avoiding & Rehabilitating Frozen Shoulder
It is important to keep the shoulder joint moving as much as possible, even when it is uncomfortable. One of the easiest ways to keep shoulder joints moving or to start rehabilitating existing frozen shoulder on your own is to perform proper stretching and strengthening exercises.
Simply place your hand (on the side of the injured shoulder) against a wall. Slowly climb your fingers up the wall like a spider and go as high as the shoulder will let you. Push slightly past the point of discomfort to start regaining some of the range of motion that has been compromised during the injury. OTC pain medications can help reduce pain in the shoulder joint as you perform these and other physical therapy exercises.
Chiropractic Treatment for a Frozen Shoulder
Although the onset of adhesive capsulitis can be slow, treatment in our office can get you back to your activities quickly. At Inspire Chiropractic and Wellness, we utilize techniques such as tissue massage and physical therapy exercises to break up scar tissue in the shoulder joint and start the process of rehabilitating normal range of motion. Shoulder problems such as pain and decreased movement start to get better fast.
Frozen Shoulder Evaluation for Chiropractic Care
First, we need to evaluate the shoulder joint including movements of the shoulder and range of motion to determine where you are in the degenerative process. This helps us establish a baseline for treatment with chiropractic care.
Next, we will develop a specific plan tailored to each individual based on your needs. This could include chiropractic care for the spine, arm, and shoulder; exercises to improve range of motion and strength; and physical therapy exercises to reduce inflammation that has been building up in the shoulder. Rehabilitation of frozen shoulder requires consistent effort for a quick recovery. We will give you arm and shoulder exercises to do at home in order to speed up your recovery.
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