Most often patients visit a physiotherapy clinic with the complaint of Frozen Shoulder.
Frozen shoulder is the term used to describe a stiff shoulder joint that has temporarily lost its full range of motion. The shoulder is stiff and painful. The stiffening is the body's natural response to inflammation occurring in or near the shoulder. It is a protective reflex to guard against further inflammation. Reaching overhead and reaching to the low back are the most commonly impaired movements. Common functional limitations are difficulty in reaching hand into the back pocket of a pant to retrieve a wallet, combing hair, inability to lift heavy objects such as dishes into cupboard etc; In early stages the pain is worse at night, later pain is present most of the times.
The cause for this condition is relatively unknown. Often there is history of preceding trauma. This disease is commonly seen in Diabetics.In 95 percent of cases the condition is totally reversible, although full recovery may take several months.
The aim of the treatment is to ease pain and stiffness and to keep the range of shoulder movement as good as possible whilst waiting for the condition to clear.
Following treatment options are available :
Hot Fomentation: Heat helps prepare the tissues for stretching and is given prior to the exercise sessions.
Physiotherapy: A Physiotherapist can give expert advice on the best exercises to use. Also pain relieving electrical modalities such as Short Wave Diathermy, TENS, Interferential therapy may be advised to the patient depending upon the intensity of the pain. Various pain relieving mobilization and manipulation techniques are also being used physiotherapists .
Shoulder mobilizing exercises: Stretching exercises and muscle toning exercises are advised to the patient Consequently a home program is planned for the patient.
Steroidal injections, Manipulation under anesthesia, Open surgery and Arthroscopic surgery are some of the other treatment options with mixed success rates which may be required in some patients who do not respond to normal treatments and manipulation. Patience is a key factor for success of treatment in cases of Frozen Shoulder. Regular exercises and follow up of treatment as advised by the Physiotherapist hastens the recovery process.