What is Frozen Shoulder?

Frozen shoulder, otherwise known as adhesive capsulitis, occurs in 2% to 5% of the population and can be extremely painful and disabling. A 2017 article published in the Singapore Medical Journal titled, “Physical therapy in the management of frozen shoulder” describes what practitioners can do to help patients suffering from frozen shoulder.

Although it isn’t completely clear why frozen shoulder happens to some, it is more commonly found in patients that have recently undergone surgery or an injury that causes them to immobilize their shoulder. The risk of frozen shoulder increases with age as well.

Frozen shoulder is typically characterized as stiffness and pain the shoulder. This often results in a loss of the range of motion of the shoulder. With therapy though, a shoulder can become “unfrozen”.

Phases of Frozen Shoulder

Treatment

While treating frozen shoulder, shoulder pulleys are a great tool that can be used to gently regain the range of movement for the patient. It is suggested that during the freezing stage, short duration range of movement exercises be performed, as pain is often most severe during this stage. Then, in the frozen stage those exercises can be continued, as well as external rotation exercises.

Smooth movements in a pain-free range, like those done with a shoulder pulley, cause the shoulder to lubricate itself and prevent it from becoming stiff or frozen. Over time, the shoulder will regain lubrication and the patient will begin to gain back their range of motion.

Over the door pulleys used at an angle as shown above allow the patient to use passive movements to help the shoulder “un-freeze”. With consistent use, patients will begin to feel better.

Over the door pulleys used at an angle as shown above allow the patient to use passive movements to help the shoulder “un-freeze”. With consistent use, patients will begin to feel better.

Home Therapy Tools For Frozen Shoulder


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SOURCE: Chan, H., Pua, P. Y., & How, C. H. (2017). Physical therapy in the management of frozen shoulder. Singapore medical journal, 58(12), 685–689. doi:10.11622/smedj.2017107

LINK TO FULL ARTICLE: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5917053/


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