Frozen Shoulder Treatment
Frozen shoulder (adhesive capsulitis) is a debilitating condition where you experience pain, stiffness and a limited range of movement in your shoulder joint. You may not be able to reach for a high shelf, lift your arm over your head, or perform a movement of the affected shoulder. Your sleep might be affected if you try to sleep on the side of your affected shoulder.
These symptoms occur as a result of inflammation and tightening of the connective tissue (or joint ligament capsule) that surrounds your shoulder joint. Over time, this tissue may continue to scar, thicken and shrink. Limiting movement of the affected shoulder also contributes to further stiffness of the shoulder joint.
Frozen shoulder usually starts off as an acute condition, but symptoms may persist for months or years, until your range of movement gradually improves, and the pain is gone.
Causes and risk factors for frozen shoulder:
- long periods of immobilisation (due to a stroke, post-op recovery or a broken arm)
- inactivity of the shoulder
- systemic diseases (including diabetes, thyroid conditions and cardio-vascular disease)
- inflammatory conditions
- overuse of your shoulder (due to physical labour or sports)
- poor posture
- shoulder injury or trauma
- women over 40 years of age
It is important to see a doctor or physiotherapist, if you experience stiffness of your shoulder joint. Other unrelated shoulder problems can be mistaken for frozen shoulder, so a proper diagnosis should be performed by a medical professional. Standard medical treatment includes anti-inflammatory and pain medication, shoulder joint treatment and surgery.
Massage therapy has an important complimentary role in treating and healing frozen shoulder. At Massage Philosophy, our treatment approach to frozen shoulder involves providing a series of moderate massage sessions.
Over the course of your treatment, our therapists may employ a range of therapeutic massage techniques, with the aim of restoring movement gently and gradually – to your shoulder.
Massage therapy may benefit your frozen shoulder in different ways:
- reducing stiffness in your affected tissues
- increasing blood and lymphatic circulation
- helping to prevent scar tissue
- releasing and mobilising locked muscles