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Osteopathic Treatment of Frozen shoulder (Adhesive capsulitis)

Blog by Dr. Michael Horowitz | October 23rd, 2014

Frozen shoulder, medically referred to as “Adhesive capsulitis” is an inflammatory condition of the capsule of the shoulder joint resulting in pain and stiffness. Daily activities such as brushing hair, reaching behind ones back such as to close a bra or taking off clothes are limited. (With greatest restrictions in shoulder external rotation). Typical findings of frozen shoulder are lack of synovial fluid (Lubricant of the shoulder joint) as well as scar tissue formation, which might be a result of immobilization during the proliferation phase of wound healing. Frozen shoulder is more common amongst women between 40-60 years of age.

The exact cause is unknown, however classified as contributing or risk factors are:

  • Diabetes or Hypothyroidism (low functioning thyroid)
  • Trauma or Surgery
  • Heart diseases, Stroke and Parkinson’s

Signs and Symptoms
The 3 main signs and symptoms present in frozen shoulder are pain, which is dull & achy, shoulder stiffness and decreased ROM (Range of Motion). Night pains are also typical.
The condition can be categorized in three stages:

Stage 1: Painful/freezing, which lasts about 1 year
Stage 2: Frozen or adhesive – 1 year
Stage 3: Recovery – up to 2 years

Silva’s treatment approach to Frozen Shoulder:

My treatment involves the patient actively in its own recovery. While performing goal oriented motions (such as brushing hair/taking off a shirt or bra) I manually mobilize, elongate and/or stabilize the appropriate structures. To increase passive ROM, mobilization and traction therapy are also of importance. To stabilize the result and the new gained ROM, I prescribe exercises and use active stabilization techniques. My own goal and motivation is to aim for long-lasting results.

Maybe I will see you next time at Hycroft Chiropractic & Massage,

I’m looking forward to it!

Silva Schoenherr DO(MP).

Have your questions about Frozen Shoulder Treatment answered by Osteopathic Practitioner in Vancouver, Silva Schoenherr, by filling out this form below or call 604-733-7744:

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