January 13, 2021

Do’s and Don’ts for Frozen Shoulder

Frozen shoulder / adhesive capsulitis is a common condition that leads to a loss of range of motion in the shoulder joint. Frozen shoulder causes pain and stiffness in the shoulder joint, which makes daily activities extremely difficult, that can potentially last for years if not properly treated.

Unfortunately, it is not properly understood by many in the medical community. Read on to learn more about the Do’s and Don’ts for frozen shoulder.

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Frozen Shoulder Risk Factors

Frozen shoulder may develop in one or both shoulders at any time in an adult’s life. Although the causes remain a mystery to many, we at the World Frozen Shoulder Clinic are at the forefront of the most current research, and certain correlations have emerged:

  • Women are twice as likely as men to develop frozen shoulder
  • It most often affects people between the ages of 40 and 60
  • People with diabetes or Parkinson’s disease are at much greater risk
  • Hormonal imbalances increase the risk of occurrence 
  • Previous shoulder injuries or surgeries causing inflammation are also contributing factors

Stages & Progression

Frozen shoulder syndrome has three stages: freezing, frozen and thawing. Each stage can last anywhere from weeks to years and has distinct symptoms.

Freezing Stage

This stage can last anywhere from two to nine months.

It begins with shoulder pain, stiffness and gradually worsens over time as range of motion restrictions set in. In the eyes of many doctors and physical therapists, this stage closely resembles the symptoms of a rotator cuff injury, which often leads to referrals for imaging tests, like x-rays or magnetic resonance imaging scans. 

Frozen Stage

This stage usually lasts for four to six months, but it can take up to a year.

At this point, adhesions throughout the connective tissue of the shoulder joint severely limit range of motion, and the shoulder pain is persistent. Once the condition reaches this point, many patients report that the pain is especially acute at night, which makes it difficult to get restful sleep. 

Thawing Stage

The thawing stage usually lasts at least six months but can take as long as two years.

The shoulder capsule will slowly loosen, range of motion will begin to improve and pain finally subsides during the thawing stage. But the shoulder may never return to normal without the proper treatment.

Do These Symptoms Sound Familiar? Take out Self-Diagnosis Test Here

 

Tips & Advice

If you or someone you know is suffering from frozen shoulder symptoms, below you’ll find some do’s and don’ts of frozen shoulder care that you should keep in mind. 

Frozen Shoulder Do’s

Following these guidelines will help frozen shoulder patients minimize their symptoms and chart a course to recovery.

Perform Physical Therapy Regularly

The exercises and stretches prescribed in your physical therapy plan must be performed on a regular basis for them to be effective.

Use an Ice Pack on the Frozen Shoulder

Placing an ice pack on the affected shoulder for roughly 10 minutes, 3-4 times per day will help reduce inflammation and relieve pain.

Take Medication Prescribed by Your Doctor

Always follow the medical advice provided by your doctor. If they give you pain or anti-inflammatory medications, take them as prescribed.

Learn as Much as Possible About Adhesive Capsulitis

Frozen shoulder syndrome is particularly frustrating for patients not only because it is difficult to resolve but also because there is a lack of readily available, reliable health information about it. 

This lack of information leaves patients with many unanswered questions, as they struggle to understand how and why their shoulder became frozen and what they can do about it. With that in mind, take a closer look at some of the stages of frozen shoulder down at the bottom of the page.

Consult a Frozen Shoulder Specialist

If you have tried conventional physical therapy and various medications without success, it’s time for a consultation with a frozen shoulder specialist.

The World Frozen Shoulder Clinic focuses specifically on this condition and uses a unique, proprietary technique to resolve frozen shoulder, known as the Manual Capsular Dissection (MCD) procedure. 

Instead of surgery, this procedure is completely non-invasive, using specialized manual manipulations followed by a course of targeted exercises and movements to help patients who get frozen shoulder make a complete recovery. 

Learn More About the MCD Procedure

Frozen Shoulder Don’ts

The symptoms – reduced range of motion with shoulder pain and stiffness – people experience from frozen shoulder may lead them to make changes in their everyday habits. But they do so at their own peril, as there are certain things that should be avoided.

Don’t Let Shoulder Pain Stop you From Moving Your Arm

As frustrating and painful as it might be, patients must try to move the affected arm on a regular basis. Leaving the shoulder joint immobilized for extended periods of time will only make it more difficult to recover range of motion in the long term.

Don’t Engage in Activities That Could Involve Abrupt Upper Arm Movements

In order to manage pain and maintain a high quality of life, it is recommended to avoid any activity that could produce jarring upper arm movements. This covers not only most sports and high-impact activities but also things like holding your dog’s leash with the affected arm.

Don’t Sleep on the Affected Side

For most people, the pain in the shoulder becomes especially difficult to manage at night. To avoid sleeping on the affected arm, sleep on your back and use soft pillows to prop up and immobilize the affected arm overnight. 

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