Frozen shoulder: How to live with the restriction

Adhesive Capsulitis commonly known as ‘Frozen shoulder’ is a debilitating condition that most commonly effects individuals aged from 40-65. It is usually a painful condition associated with loss of shoulder range of motion (ROM). This condition usually presents in a 3-stage process, Freezing, Frozen and Thawing.

Key Takeaways:

Stage 1: Freezing: A progressive and slow onset of pain that usually lasts from 6 weeks – 9 months, where the shoulder loses motion as the pain worsens.
Stage 2: Frozen: This is where the shoulder seems to be stuck with its ROM however, there usually is a slow decrease in pain which lasts from 4-9 months.
Stage 3: Thawing: Shoulder ROM starts to slowly return to normal, this can take any time from 5-26 months.

Key findings:
The number one complaint for individuals with frozen shoulder is pain. Frozen shoulder has a massive impact on an individual’s normal life with impacts to their emotional and psychological health. Frozen shoulder in its history has been poorly diagnosed and managed.

How these findings apply in practice?
If patients are in the “Freezing” stage of their Frozen shoulder, then we need to respect their pain as this is real pain and was reported to be the number one complaint from individuals. We also need to be using our skills of pain management and trying to gentle aim at improving ROM. It also highlights the need for skilled physiotherapists as a Frozen shoulder needs to be diagnosed and acted on quickly. 

If you are suffering from Frozen shoulder, cal our friendly staff to book in with one of our physiotherapists who can assist you in regaining your movement and function.

Home exercise routine for shoulder subacromial pain.

Shoulder exercises

Exercise rehabilitation is recommended as the first line of intervention for management and rehabilitation of subacromial shoulder pain / impingement. Exercise rehabilitation can include strengthening to stretching to motor control exercises. The exact exercise regime for subacromial shoulder pain is unclear however here are some recommendations that you can try at home.

The home exercises program for subacromial shoulder pain can include the following:
1. Scaption range of motion – keeping your arm straight, gently lift your arm up at around 45 deg angle to full range of motion that is available. Keep your neck relaxed throughout the motion.

2. Shoulder shrugs – Gently lift your shoulder blades up towards your ears and lower down slowly. Focus on contracting the muscles and relaxing the muscles all the way down.

3. 3 strengthening exercises:
– External rotation in neutral – Use a resistant band, tied to a stable place, keep your elbow tucked in and rotate shoulder out (feel the activation in the back of the shoulder / blade.
– 90 degrees external rotation – Use a resistant band, tied to a stable place, Lift your elbow to side, level with the shoulder. Rotate the hand up (feel in back of the shoulder)
– Serratus anterior strengthening – (Working on the forward and backward motion of the shoulder blade) Keeping your arms straight – you can do this in a push up position or against a wall. Bring your shoulder blades forward to round the mid back and then retract to squeeze the shoulder blades.

4. Pec stretch – Use the door frame, bring your elbow up level with your shoulders and stretch the front of the pec.
Posterior shoulder stretch – Bring your arm across the body and stretch the back of the shoulder.

Exercise programs have shown both clinical and statistically significant in improvement from shoulder subacromial pain. The type of exercises and the intensity/duration can be variable depending on the individual’s tolerance, but doing exercise is better than doing NOTHING!

If you are suffering with shoulder pain, book in a consultation with one of our specialist today.

TPC Team

Shoulder Bursitis? How can physiotherapy help.

Shoulder bursitis is a condition in which one or more of the small fluid-filled sacs called bursae in the shoulder joint become inflamed or irritated (has an inflammatory response).

What is the role of a Bursae?

The bursae act as cushions between the bones, tendons, and muscles, and help to reduce friction and allow for smooth movement of the joint. When the bursae become inflamed, they can cause pain and limit shoulder movement, especially lifting overhead, reaching back and even lying on the affected side.

There are several common causes of shoulder bursitis. Individuals who perform heavy/repetitive manual labor, sports or activities that involve repetitive overhead shoulder movements or older individuals are at increased risk of developing shoulder bursitis.

Physiotherapy has shown to be effective in managing shoulder bursitis. It involves performing specific exercises to help improve the strength and range of motion of the shoulder joint. These exercises include specific strengthening exercises for the rotator cuff muscles, shoulder blade or scapular muscles and improving the quality of movement.

Manual therapy, which involves hands-on techniques such as joint mobilization, soft tissue massage, and trigger point release may also be used to help alleviate pain and improve shoulder function.

Overall, physiotherapy treatment for shoulder bursitis can be effective in reducing pain, improving range of motion, and restoring function in the shoulder joint. If you are suffering from shoulder bursitis, there are many modalities we can use to assist you to get back to pain free shoulder movements and as always doing the things you love.

Call the clinic to book a consult today on 9116 8691.

The physio crew