Frozen shoulder syndrome entails the progressive loss of both passive and active motion. It’s cause(s) (etiology) is not well understood, although significant risk factors include age, posture, diabetes, presence of neck pain, and sedentary work. In a frozen shoulder, the covering of the shoulder joint, called the joint capsule, becomes inflamed, very painful, and tightens up around the shoulder. An article was published in the October issue of Physical Therapy comparing mobilization techniques in the treatment of frozen shoulder.
What Are the Conclusions of This Study?
There are several different mobilization techniques that have been advocated for the treatment of frozen shoulders, however, no standard treatment exists. Some researchers even believe that no physical therapy treatment is beneficial. In those cases it is thought that frozen shoulder can be self-limiting (resolving on it’s own) in about 2 years, or can be treated with orthopedic manipulation under anaesthesia – when an orthopedic surgeon forcibly breaks adhesions in the shoulder capsule while the patient is under general anaesthesia.
Physical therapy mobilization techniques have involved movement of the joint without moving the bone (“gliding” the ball and socket of the shoulder without moving arm up and down) and others have used a combination of movement of the arm and mobilization of the joint. This study was conducted to attempt to determine which of three methods worked best in the treatment of frozen shoulder.
How Does This Relate to Patient Care?
The results were fairly predictable (in my opinion) finding that mobilization with active movement of the arm provided the best results. Movement of the shoulder joint (glenohumeral joint) was improved while the timing of the movement of the shoulder blade and the arm (scapulohumeral rhythm) was also improved. I say that this result was predictable because it focused on the restoration of normal motion in the joint first, while using mechanical stress to spur lengthening of the connective tissue (stretching of the joint capsule) of the shoulder joint.
Study after study confirm that restoration of normalized range of motion is key to the elimination of pain, weakness, and loss of function.
At Terry Rehabilitation, each patient is expertly evaluated, each treatment plan is customized for that patient, and all treatment occurs with a highly trained professional.
Our shoulder rehabilitation programs include:
- Hands-on manual therapy techniques – to quickly correct loss of motion
- Supervised therapeutic exercises (strength and flexibility) targeted to specific deficiencies
- Modalities such as cold packs, heat, and electrical stimulation to reduce pain, inflammation, and to increase flexibility
- Targeted home exercise programs that do not require special equipment
- Restoration of functional strength and stability for daily activities
- Work-specific or sport-specific rehabilitation
Contact us to schedule an initial evaluation. If physical therapy is recommended, we will contact your physician in writing regarding the recommended plan of care, allowing him or her to make the most informed decision possible for the care of your shoulder.