Adhesive Capsulitis is more commonly known as Frozen Shoulder. Generally it occurs in people aged 40-70 years old however it can occur outside this range. Frozen shoulder causes the shoulder joint to become painful and stiff with limited range of motion. The tissue around the joint stiffens, shrinks, and scar tissue forms, causing reduced and very often painful motion.
Although there is not one typical cause of Adhesive capsulitis, there are several known risk factors. One, as stated above, is being between the ages of 40 and 70. Women tend to be more affected than men. Any injury, pain or chronic health issues such as Parkinson’s, stroke, and Diabetes Mellitus can increase the risk of developing a frozen shoulder.
There are three known stages of Adhesive Capsulitis. The first is called the freezing stage. During this period of time, pain begins and continues to develop. As the pain worsens, the shoulder loses range of motion. Freezing can last from 6 weeks to 9 months. The second stage is the frozen period. Pain may actually improve in this stage but the stiffness remains. Daily activities may remain difficult during the 4-6 months of this stage. The last stage is called thawing. Shoulder range of motion slowly begins to improve and there is complete return or close to complete return of strength and motion. This stage can last from 6 months to 2 years.
There is no way to prevent a frozen shoulder or stop it completely from occurring. But what can be helpful is avoiding injury or reinjury of your shoulder. Keep your shoulder moving especially in overhead, reaching, or behind the back motions. Strengthen your shoulders and the muscles in your upper back. Maintain good posture when sitting, standing and walking. Adopt healthy eating habits. Reduce stress in your life.
Physical Therapists are well trained in treatment of Adhesive Capsulitis. There are many different exercises, stretches, joint mobilizations, and modalities that are effective in the treatment of this diagnosis. Come see us at Comprehensive Physical Therapy Center so we can help you return to the active lifestyle you desire!