What is it?

Adhesive capsulitis, often referred to as frozen shoulder, is a condition which causes pain and stiffness in the shoulder joint due to the capsule that encloses the shoulder joint becoming thicker, contracted and tighter than it should be.   

Symptoms include:

  • A dull or aching pain in your shoulder, which tends to be worse at night or when you move your shoulder joint.
  • Stiffness around your shoulder joint that may stop you from moving your shoulder normally. This can make it difficult to do everyday tasks such as driving or dressing yourself. The below movements are mostly affected.

 

   

What causes it?

Onset of this pathology is usually idiopathic (comes on for no particular reason), however there are certain conditions and factors which have been linked to increased occurrence of frozen shoulder.

Such as:

  • Female population
  • Aged over 40
  • Diabetes
  • Underactive or overactive thyroid
  • Metabolic Syndrome
  • Post shoulder surgery or injury

Treatment

Although the majority of  the time frozen shoulder will eventually resolve by itself, the current research found that effective treatments which shorten the duration of the symptoms have a significant impact on reducing long term problems.

The latest evidence has found that the most effective treatment for frozen shoulder is the combination of physiotherapy and an ultrasound guided steroid injection into the joint.  The steroid injection is used to reduce inflammation and pain in the shoulder, which is particularly beneficial in the early stages where pain is a greater issue than stiffness.

This injection can also be performed as a hydrodistension – where the shoulder joint is also injected with saline to stretch the tight joint capsule and allow movement. Having a course of intense physiotherapy shortly afterward will then maximise recovery and improve the range of movement of the shoulder.

Physiotherapy treatment will involve manual therapy including mobilisation of the joint and an independent exercise program to assist a speedy recovery.

For more information about ultrasound guided cortisone injection and hydrodistension treatments that we offer please contact us.

If you are experiencing shoulder pain or stiffness and would like to find out why:

Book an Appointment here