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What is it?
Adhesive capsulitis or ‘frozen shoulder’ is a condition affecting the capsule surrounding the shoulder joint. In descriptive terms it characterised by pain initially and then stiffness of the shoulder joint. It tends to follow three stages; the ‘freezing’ stage where pain predominates and limits movement, the ‘frozen’ stage where both pain and stiffness affect movement and the ‘thawing stage’ where there is minimal pain but stiffness still limits movement.
Pain will often be felt as a band round the top of the arm and movement will be limited in a specific pattern.
Physiotherapy can be beneficial at all stages with hands on treatment and in the early stages acupuncture has been shown to be effective in relieving shoulder pain.
It may occur spontaneously or following trauma or thoracic surgery and is more common in people with diabetes and within the 40 - 60 year age group. It is also more common in women than men and is often associated with poor ergonomics and posture. There is also a correlation with individuals with existing Dupuytren's contracture.
Following a thorough examination and assessment of the presenting problem, advice and treatment may include the followin
Acupuncture to restore normal muscle tone and control pain
Specific joint and soft tissue mobilisations to restore normal joint biomechanics
Assessment and treatment of neck and upper back areas which may contribute to the symptoms
Individually tailored exercise programme to include appropriate stretching and strengthening exercises
Anti inflammatory medication or a steroid injection can be a useful adjunct to your physiotherapy treatment.
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