Frozen shoulder syndrome, known by the medical community as adhesive capsulitis, is a painful condition that can last for extended periods of time and frequently recur throughout one’s lifetime. It involves intense shoulder pain and immobility in the shoulder. It usually results when the shoulder hasn’t been used regularly.
If you or someone you know suffers from frozen shoulder syndrome, read below to learn more about the stages, causes, and some of the most important do’s and don’ts for dealing with it.
What are the stages associated with frozen shoulder syndrome?
- Freezing — This is the first stage of a frozen shoulder. During the freezing stage, the shoulder gradually becomes too painful to move and shoulder mobility becomes significantly limited. This stage usually lasts anywhere from six weeks to nine months.
- Frozen — This is the second stage of a frozen shoulder. During the frozen stage, some of the pain might subside, but the shoulder remains mostly immobile. Stiffness is common, making it hard to use the shoulder still. This stage usually lasts about four to nine months.
- Thawing — This is the third stage of a frozen shoulder. Throughout the thawing stage, shoulder mobility slowly returns to normal. It takes anywhere from five months to two years for the thawing stage to progress.
What are the causes of frozen shoulder?
The causes of frozen shoulder have yet to be definitely identified, but there are several factors that may contribute to this condition:
- Age — One of the first factors that contribute to this condition is age. Most cases occur in women 40 years of age or older.
- Limited movement — Another risk factor, which is believed to be the most prevalent, is the level of shoulder movement. Those who exhibit limited or no movement in their shoulders, whether due to injury, surgery or something else, are more likely to develop frozen shoulder.
- Disease — One more factor related to this condition is disease. People who have thyroid disease, diabetes, Parkinson’s or cardiovascular disease are particularly at risk of developing frozen shoulder.
What are some of the do’s of dealing with frozen shoulder?
- Do regularly visit a physical therapist — Physical therapy is a great option for those who have frozen shoulder. Physical therapists are specially trained to help patients who struggle with this condition. They’ll guide you through a series of motions and movements that will gently work the shoulder within your pain threshold. The goal of therapy is to improve your quality of life by minimizing pain and other uncomfortable symptoms while boosting the mobility of the shoulder. If you have frozen shoulder syndrome, one of the “do’s” for managing this condition is visiting a physical therapist. For those who might be unable to visit a physical therapist in person, virtual physical therapy could be the answer.
- Do take anti-inflammatory medication — Anti-inflammatory medication may help reduce both the inflammation in the shoulder and the amount of time the shoulder remains immobile and painful. Of the do’s and don’ts associated with frozen shoulder, you do want to take anti-inflammatory medication if possible.
What are some of the don’ts of dealing with frozen shoulder?
- Don’t lie on your frozen shoulder — A major “don’t” for dealing with frozen shoulder is resting on your bad shoulder. You probably shouldn’t sleep on the arm that has become frozen. To minimize the pain you might feel during the night, try sleeping on your back.
- Don’t stop moving your arm — You shouldn’t stop moving your arm, even though this may be unpleasant and even a little painful. It’s important to keep your shoulder mobile by gently exercising it and using it whenever you can. The key, however, is to keep your exercises light and gentle, while avoiding sudden and forceful movements. One of your other “don’ts” is to keep your shoulder still for even longer. Minimal shoulder movement leads to recurring or prolonged frozen shoulder.
Agile Virtual Physical Therapy can teach you some more do’s and don’ts for handling your frozen shoulder
We understand that going to regular in-person physical therapy sessions can be a serious time commitment. When you consider the time it takes to drive to and from your sessions, the sessions themselves, and other related factors, in-person PT can be tedious. Fortunately, getting the care you need doesn’t have to be.
Is frozen shoulder pain keeping you at home? Virtual physical therapy is a time-efficient and equally effective treatment option for those who have frozen shoulder. Virtual PT can be done from the convenience of your own home. It requires nothing other than a stable internet connection and a device with a video camera. You’ll be able to meet with a qualified physical therapy professional who can lead you through each session. You can get the right treatment for your frozen shoulder without needing to reach to buckle your seat belt.
Agile Virtual Physical Therapy can offer more than 400 licensed clinicians. We’re committed to providing effective PT care through our telehealth platform. At Agile Virtual PT, we provide services in 45 U.S. states and free virtual screenings.
At Agile Virtual Physical Therapy, we have experienced professionals who are qualified to create a personalized plan with you containing at-home physical therapy exercises customized for your age and fitness level.
Contact our team today for more information or to schedule an initial appointment to get started treating your frozen shoulder.