We may not pay much attention to it but we use our shoulders a great deal on a daily basis. Of course, these movements are facilitated by the shoulder joints which, due to excessive use over the years, are susceptible to wear and tear. Unfortunately, when anything affects the shoulders or joints, it can cause pain, significantly reduce range of motion, and lower your everyday quality of life.
Among the various problems that can affect the shoulder, one of the most common conditions is Frozen Shoulder. Medically known as ‘adhesive capsulitis’, this is a condition wherein the shoulder joints become stiff and painful, and will progressively worsen if not addressed early on. Before we explain how chiropractic treatment can help a frozen shoulder, let’s learn a little more about the condition so that you are aware of the causes, and the different stages of symptoms that come with a frozen shoulder.
What are the Causes of Frozen Shoulder?
It is not always easy to pinpoint the exact cause of the condition as there are various factors that may lead to the development of adhesive capsulitis in an individual. That said, consulting with a doctor is highly recommended to get a proper diagnosis before proceeding with any treatment for your frozen shoulder.
Here is a quick look at some common causes, and factors/risks that could lead to a frozen shoulder:
- Thickening or tightening of the connective tissue capsule that covers the shoulder joint
- Wear and tear of the joint
- If you are older than 40
- Gender – women (above 40) are more susceptible to frozen shoulder
- Keeping the shoulder immobile for long periods of time due to injury, surgery, etc
- Individuals who are diagnosed with certain diseases such as hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism, diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, and cardiovascular disease
How Do Symptoms of Frozen Shoulder Progress?
The thing about adhesive capsulitis is that the symptoms do not develop overnight. In fact, it is a very gradual process that often takes two months, or longer, before the patient experiences any symptoms.
Let’s take a look at the three stages in which frozen shoulder develops:
- Known as the ‘freezing stage’ which lasts anywhere between 2 – 9 months, the symptoms include restricted mobility of the shoulder, and some amount of pain when trying to move the shoulder.
- The ‘frozen stage’ may last between 4 – 12 months. During this time, the pain is often reduced while the stiffness increases. Attempting to move the shoulder becomes increasingly difficult during the frozen stage.
- Finally, when the symptoms start to slowly subside, this is called the ‘thawing stage’. It generally lasts between 5 and 24 months.
How to Treat Frozen Shoulder with Chiropractic
Doctors and patients alike prefer to steer clear of injections which include numbing medication and/or corticosteroids. Typically, these options are used as a secondary treatment plan. Similarly, surgery is the last option and also very rare when it comes to treating a frozen shoulder. Instead, doctors advise exercises and, of course, chiropractic care to alleviate symptoms over time.
Through adjustments and manipulation of the shoulder joint, patients will get relief from pain while their shoulder mobility will increase thanks to the alleviation of stiffness. Often sought after for relieving back pain, chiropractic treatment can also aid in speeding up the stages of a frozen shoulder for a faster recovery from the condition.
Using specific techniques which include adjustments and mobilisation, an experienced chiropractor will help release the joint and muscle tissue from the thickened tissue that encapsulates the joint. They use their hands or specialised chiropractic tools to manipulate the joint by applying pressure to specific areas that aid in relieving muscle tension and stiffness in the joints.
Gentle stretching or mobilisation also helps to ease the pain, however, just like the onset of symptoms, the recovery period also happens over a course of time with continued chiropractic care. Additionally, your chiropractor may come up with a treatment plan that involves related therapies which include physiotherapy, massage therapy, and recommended at-home exercises.
Chiropractors stress on the importance of physiotherapy and gentle exercises for the affected shoulder as strengthening the joint is imperative for recovery, as well as to prevent future problems. Overall, the medical professional will customise a treatment plan that may include various techniques, therapies, and treatments that will not only alleviate symptoms of adhesive capsulitis, but address the root cause as well.
Consult with the Best Chiropractors for Frozen Shoulder
If you are suffering from a frozen shoulder, the preferred course of treatment is always a non-invasive approach. This is where chiropractic care can be of great help in painlessly addressing the problem, and guiding the patient through their entire recovery.
With that said, it is important to find a trusted, experienced, and licensed chiropractor to treat adhesive capsulitis successfully; one who will keep the patient’s medical history, comfort level, and other important factors in mind from beginning to end. At MSK Therapy, we follow a comprehensive step-by-step approach to ensure an accurate diagnosis is made before determining the best course of treatment and carrying out the same. For a trusted chiropractic service to treat a frozen shoulder, consult with one of our medical experts today.