The shoulder is one of the most complicated joints in the body. It’s a ball and socket -hinge type joint, which allows the shoulder and or arm to move in different directions.
Frozen shoulder is a condition that leads to pain and stiffness of the shoulder. Frozen shoulder occurs when the flexible tissue that surrounds the shoulder joint, known as the capsule, becomes inflamed and thickened it is also known as adhesive capsulitis or shoulder contracture. The symptoms tend to gradually get worse over a number of months or years. You will typically experience shoulder pain for the first two to nine months, which can be severe, followed by increasing stiffness.
The stiffness may affect your ability to carry out everyday activities especially difficulty to perform overhead tasks, and in particularly severe cases, you may not be able to move your shoulder at all. According to studies it’s not fully understood as to how it happens but there are some factors that could increase your chances of having to deal with frozen shoulder
- A previous shoulder injury or shoulder surgery
Frozen shoulder affects 10-20 percent of people with diabetes according to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons. One of the building blocks of ligaments and tendons called Collagen is said to contribute to frozen shoulder in people with Diabetes. Collagen is a major part of the ligaments that hold the bones together in a joint. Glucose (sugar) molecules attach to collagen. In people with diabetes, the theory goes, this can contribute to abnormal deposits of collagen in the cartilage and tendons of the shoulder. The buildup then causes the affected shoulder to stiffen up.
- Other health conditions, such as heart disease and stroke
After a stroke you may find that your shoulder is very stiff and that it hurts when you move it. This is called frozen shoulder or capsulitis. Muscles and ligaments around our shoulder joints hold the bone in our upper arms in place. There is a layer of tissue that surrounds this joint, which is called a capsule. If your arm muscles are very weak, stiff or paralyzed, the effect of gravity puts a strain on your ligaments and your capsule. This can cause these parts of your shoulder joint to become inflamed, stretched and damaged. Having weakness in your arm muscles may contribute to this pain in your shoulder.
We have a particular patient that came to us at EEMC suffering from pain in her left shoulder for almost 2 years. She tried almost everything to ease the pain; pain-killers, bed rest, exercises, etc. Desperation lead her to consult a specialist whom recommended surgery or steroid injections for her particular condition. Having surgery as her last option, she agreed to go the steroid injection route…which again failed to succeed.
We mobilized her left shoulder by means joint mobilization, scapular mobilization and using a physical therapy machine helps to loosen the muscles and joints. Addition to that she was very compliant with the home exercises that had been given to her, after her physical therapy and chiropractic treatment. She can now move her shoulder in full range and can go about her normal life without any pain and difficulty.
Another treatment method, usually applied alongside chiropractic and physical therapy in our clinic, is kineseo taping. This is able to provide extra support for the damaged tissues. The unique pull of Kinesio tape relieves the pressure on the pain receptors, alleviating the pain. It also supports the muscle and joint area, accelerating recovery time. Taping is also used to improve proprioception. This is the neural information from the painful structures which goes to the brain. Gentle shoulder exercises to prevent the shoulder from ‘freezing’ are also advised, and kineseo taping allows a full range of motion, enabling you to undertake regular shoulder exercises.