What is frozen shoulder, and how do you know you have it?
Though the name may sound self-explanatory, frozen shoulder (FS) is a condition whereby the shoulder has a limited range of movement accompanied by severe pain that spreads to the upper arm. Symptoms include sharp pain down the arm when moving fast or making sudden jolts or spontaneous movements, as well as interrupted sleep (regardless of positioning).
What causes frozen shoulder?
The cause of frozen shoulder is undetermined, but theorized causes include trauma or injury to the shoulder, post-traumatic stress (or variants), anxiety, and depression. Because everything in the body is connected, it’s also possible that a combination of the above could trigger or cause frozen shoulder.
Are there any risk factors for frozen shoulder?
As with most conditions, some are at greater risk of developing frozen shoulder than others. Females are the more susceptible sex, and 40 to 65 is the most vulnerable age group. If you have diabetes, you may be at greater risk—particularly if you have type 1. You may also be at greater risk if you have hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, or metabolic syndrome.
How do you diagnose frozen shoulder, and what is the best treatment?
You do not need an MRI, X-ray, or ultrasound to determine if you have frozen shoulder. The condition requires a clinical diagnosis only, which your GP or physiotherapist can confirm. To determine a diagnosis, your medical professional will conduct some physical tests and take your medical history into account. Luckily, 90 percent of frozen shoulder sufferers can recover from their condition without invasive treatment. Surgery is no more advantageous than chartered physiotherapy, which is the best way to reduce pain and resume standard shoulder function.
Tell me more about treatment options.
What does chartered physiotherapy entail? It covers treatment strategies like exercises for resistance or mobility, as well as stretching. Your physiotherapist may use other management options, too, including informed education and advice, a corticosteroid injection (which would require a referral to an injection practitioner), and joint mobilization (four months following the frozen shoulder diagnosis).
What’s it like to have (a pending diagnosis for) frozen shoulder?
These descriptions may come off clinical because they are. First-hand accounts of frozen shoulder detail ‘severe’ and ‘inexplicable’ pain, ‘increas[ed] restriction of movement’ (due to pain and an eventual stiffness), confusion and anxiety associated with delayed diagnoses, and uncertainty due to ‘the implications for the future and treatment-related aspects’. Some have even gone so far as to describe it as a disability. (All quotes and anecdotal descriptions are from a 2013 study.)
What should I do if I’m having similar pain or experiencing symptoms?
If you’re experiencing similar to the above—or if any of these symptoms resonate with you—you should seek medical advice. At the very least, you can clarify if frozen shoulder is the reason for your pain. If you’re seeking physiotherapy in Sydney CBD, Evoker may be just the clinic for you. Even if it’s not frozen shoulder you’re dealing with, it can’t hurt to address whatever shoulder or upper arm pain you are experiencing.
Evoker offers premium physiotherapy services, including general physiotherapy, manipulative physiotherapy, sports physiotherapy, exercise prescription and programming, and cervical pillow assessment. They also provide services outside of this space, including blood flow restriction therapy, women’s wellness, bike fittings, pilates classes, and more.
If you want to feel better and get to the bottom of what’s bothering you, take advantage of Evoker’s physiotherapy services. Whether it’s frozen shoulder or something else altogether, they’ll be sure to get you back on the road to recovery.