woman raising arms over head September 15, 2021

Frozen Shoulder Manipulation: What You Need to Know

Frozen shoulder manipulation is  a technique designed to improve the range of motion for patients with adhesive capsulitis, aka frozen shoulder. It is almost always performed with local or general anesthesia. It’s also referred to as “closed manipulation” and “manipulation under anesthesia” (MUA). 

It’s Manipulation is an aggressive, albeit non-invasive process meant to get the patient’s shoulder moving again. However, it can pose some risk (with or without anesthesia) if not performed by experts.

person with hands on patients shoulder

Is Manipulation Good for a Frozen Shoulder?

Manipulation is just one of several ways to improve a frozen, but there are better methods available. Depending on the stage they are at in their condition, and the frozen shoulder symptoms patients are experiencing, manipulation may not be a viable method. 

A few indications of the technique to use depends on how you are responding to conservative methods, such as physical therapy and pain medicine. 

Prior to shoulder manipulation, the doctor will review your medical history because the procedure can increase risks in certain patients if they:

  • Have a recent or chronic illness
  • Take certain medicines
  • Smoke or drink alcohol regularly
  • Had previous shoulder surgery
  • Have reactions to anesthesia

Patients can experience worse symptoms during or after shoulder manipulation, such as: 

  • Pain
  • Nerve injury
  • Damage to soft tissue
  • Instability or stiffness in joint
  • Fracture

Patients need to get a frozen shoulder diagnosis to ensure that they do have this condition. Those with frozen shoulder syndrome should try less aggressive methods prior to shoulder manipulation.

doctor and patient looking at x rays

How Do They Manipulate a Frozen Shoulder?

The doctor will forcibly move the shoulder through a full range of motion to break up the scar tissue preventing movement and causing stiffness. Since the patient will have been administered anesthesia, they should not feel any shoulder pain. 

Patients will most likely have swelling and pain after the procedure. After the recovery time, they may need to undergo a surgical procedure called arthroscopic capsular release if they do not experience any change in their shoulder.

Shoulder manipulation lasts between 45 and 60 minutes. After the procedure, patients are brought to a recovery room where their condition is monitored. They are usually given a shoulder sling as a pain management technique. 

What is the Recovery Time for Frozen Shoulder Manipulation?

Shoulder pain should decrease over the course of several weeks. As time passes, it’s vital that you slowly stretch your arm more frequently to gauge its range of motion and pain level. Exercising it will help it recover as well. Always take it easy while exercising and moving your shoulder. Physical therapy is essential to improving your shoulder.

On average, patients heal within 4-6 weeks after shoulder manipulation. Depending on the type of job you have, you can return to work and drive by the second or third week. Always test your shoulder and arm’s capabilities before doing any activities, such as driving.

woman stretching in office chair

Want a frozen shoulder treatment that doesn’t involve aggressive measures or surgery and cures the issue? World Frozen Shoulder has the solution!

See a Trained Healthcare Provider for Your Shoulder Joint

At our clinic, we use the revolutionary manual capsular dissection (MCD) procedure. It’s a treatment that lasts one hour where a frozen shoulder specialist isolates the adhesive tissue inside and outside of the shoulder joint capsule.

Separating the tissue is carefully performed by targeted dissections of the adhesions using patient-specific movements, specific mobilizations procedures and devices. With attentive use of local anesthetic and IV analgesics, patients can experience no pain at all. For more information on frozen shoulder syndrome and the MCD procedure, book an appointment!

Categorised in: