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Frozen Shoulder Treatment in Waterloo

young adult holding shoulder in painFrozen shoulder, or adhesive capsulitis, is a condition that affects the shoulder joint, leading to stiffness, pain, and limited range of motion. It typically progresses through three distinct phases: freezing, frozen, and thawing.

The Phases of Frozen Shoulder:

The first phase, known as the freezing phase, is characterized by the gradual onset of shoulder pain. The pain may worsen over time and is often felt deep within the joint. As the condition progresses, stiffness and limited range of motion become more pronounced. Activities that require overhead reaching, reaching behind the back, or even simple tasks like putting on clothes or combing hair may become difficult and painful.

The second phase is referred to as the frozen phase. During this stage, the pain may subside or become less intense, but stiffness and restricted mobility continue to be major issues. The shoulder joint becomes significantly more difficult to move in any direction. The shoulder capsule, a membrane surrounding the joint, becomes thickened and contracted, leading to the formation of adhesions or scar tissue.

These adhesions restrict movement and contribute to the frozen feeling in the shoulder.

The final phase is the thawing phase. In this stage, there is a gradual improvement in shoulder mobility and a decrease in pain. The adhesions start to break up, and the range of motion gradually returns. The duration of each phase can vary, with the entire process lasting anywhere from several months to a few years.

Causes and Pathology of Frozen Shoulder

The exact cause of frozen shoulder is not fully understood. However, certain risk factors have been identified, including age (typically affecting individuals between 40 and 60 years old), gender (more common in women), diabetes, thyroid disorders, previous shoulder injury or surgery, and prolonged immobilization of the shoulder.

The pathology of frozen shoulder involves the thickening and tightening of the shoulder joint capsule. The exact mechanism behind this process is not completely clear. However, it is believed that inflammation and fibrosis (formation of excess fibrous connective tissue) play a role. Inflammatory cells may infiltrate the joint capsule, leading to increased production of collagen and subsequent thickening and contraction of the capsule. The adhesions that form within the joint further restrict movement and contribute to the characteristic symptoms of frozen shoulder.

How to Help

It’s worth noting that frozen shoulder can be a self-limiting condition, meaning it may resolve on its own over time. However, the recovery process can be slow and may be accompanied by ongoing discomfort and functional limitations. Treatment options include pain management, physical therapy, chiropractic care, corticosteroid injections, and in some cases, surgical intervention(unlikely if early care by a chiropractor or physiotherapist is initiated).

It’s important to consult with a healthcare professional for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment plan tailored to your specific condition. They can provide guidance on managing symptoms, improving range of motion, and facilitating a successful recovery. Chiropractic care and physiotherapy can help in managing frozen shoulder through various approaches. Our chiropractors and physiotherapists are skilled in diagnosing and treating musculoskeletal conditions, including shoulder issues. They may employ techniques such as joint mobilization, soft tissue therapy, and specific exercises to improve range of motion and reduce pain. Dearborn Health is proud to have many Chiropractors and Physiotherapists that would be happy to help you in your journey in getting out of pain!


Frozen Shoulder Treatment Waterloo, ON | (519) 884-4848