Have you heard of frozen shoulder before? What is it?
Frozen Shoulder is a common shoulder condition that mostly affects people aged 40-60 years old. The scientific name of frozen shoulder is adhesive capsulitis. The cause is that the joint lubricating fluid of the shoulder is reduced, the joint capsule and the surrounding soft tissue become inflamed and fibrotic, resulting in a greatly reduced shoulder range of motion. The fibrotic process first occurs at the bottom of the shoulder joint, which is near the armpit. Therefore, patients often find that the range of shoulder abduction and external rotation decreases first, which greatly affects their daily life. In addition to limited mobility, shoulder movement can also cause pain and discomfort, causing the patients to avoid using that shoulder.
Frozen shoulder has three stages
1. Freeing stage
This is the first stage of frozen shoulder, the tissue of the shoulder joint capsule is inflamed, so the patient will experience severe pain when moving the shoulder. This phase may last six to nine months.
2. Frozen stage
The inflammation gradually subsides in this stage, so the pain is slightly less. However, the shoulder becomes stiffer and the shoulder range of motion is greatly reduced. Activities of daily living, such as dressing and showering, may be affected. This stage may last from four to twelve months.
3. Thawing stage
This is the last stage of frozen shoulder, and the patient's shoulder mobility will slowly recover. This stage may take six months to two years before regaining full shoulder range of motion.
The frozen shoulder has a long recovery timeline. Many patients will avoid using that shoulder due to the pain. However, keeping the shoulder active is very important as it can prevent further loss of shoulder mobility and muscle atrophy. By seeking treatment and keeping the shoulder active, the patients might have a faster recovery and restoration of their original mobility.
Here are some videos by Ask Physio Elli to help prevent frozen shoulder
1. 4 Stretches to Help Prevent Frozen Shoulder | 4個伸展助你預防肩周炎(五十肩) | Ask Physio Elli - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M7QvfLzpL_0&t=286s
2. 4 Strengthening Exercises to Help Prevent Frozen Shoulder | 4個鍛煉助你預防肩周炎(五十肩) | Ask Physio Elli - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EByd1x0J5FM