Frozen Shoulder: Causes and treatment

Shoulder problems are not uncommon. We frequently see people at our chiropractic clinic in Barrie, complaining about their shoulder stiffness or numbness. Mostly it’s either pain caused by wrong posture or lifting and sports activities or it’s a case of frozen shoulder.

When it comes to shoulders, frozen shoulder is a more typical condition that can lead to severe consequences.

What is frozen shoulder?

Frozen shoulder is an extremely painful problem that leads to stiffened shoulder, limiting your everyday activities. It’s a condition that directly affects the shoulder joint, leading to pain and  immobilization.

Common causes of frozen shoulder

  • The most common cause of frozen shoulder includes injury and surgery of the shoulder.
  • Inflammation and swelling caused by scarred tissues in shoulder joint can also hinder movement.
  • Muscle imbalances in the upper back and shoulders also leads to stiffness of shoulders.
  • Both, tight or weak muscles can affect the way your upper arm bone sits in the shoulder socket, potentially causing friction and pain.
  • Diseases, like diabetes or arthritis, may also cause immobilization of shoulder joints.

Some treatments for frozen shoulder

  • Heat
    • Heat packs are an effective treatment for frozen shoulder. Applying heat to the affected area relaxes the muscles, making them easier to move. This also helps during the physical therapy exercises.
  • Exercises
  • There are many exercises to relieve frozen shoulder, of which some common ones are:

    • Passive upper body stretching – For this you need to stand upright facing the doorway jam and gently lift your affected arm and bend the elbow to 90 degrees. This exercise eases the muscles around the shoulders and increases the movement.
    • Gentle Swing – Moving your shoulder area is one treatment for frozen shoulder symptoms. Swinging your arms can help you increase the mobility in your rotator cuff ligaments and tendons. Stretch your shoulder area by standing upright with your feet shoulder-width apart, and slowly swing the affected hand 360 degrees.
    • Overhead lifts – Raising your arms overhead can be helpful for frozen shoulder too. Sit upright in a chair and hold your injured-side wrist with your opposite hand. Slowly and gently move your injured arm overhead. Repeat it at least 10 times.
  • Supplements
    • Omega-3 fatty acids is one of the most popular supplements for joints. They’re usually used for arthritis joint pain. Since they’re beneficial to health and have no side effects, they can be taken easily but consult your chiropractor for the dosage details. Omega-3 fatty acid supplements are available in capsule and liquid forms.
    • You can also try a glucosamine supplement. Glucosamine is a substance naturally made in your body to build and maintain joint cartilage. It’s available in the form of tablet or capsule, and is generally considered safe.
    • Talking to your chiropractor about possible supplements for your frozen shoulder is the best solution. Since many supplements may have side effects and different dosage intake, it’s essential for the doctor to determine the right supplements for you.
  • Physical Therapy
    • Physical therapy is one of the most recommend treatments for stiff shoulder. It’s usually a combination of some stretching and specific exercises. Performing gentle stretches on your arms and shoulders can prevent further stiffening of muscles. Once the pain diminishes your chiropractor may also add a few strengthening exercises, particularly if you have a muscle imbalance.

Treatment for frozen shoulder involves many options including physical therapy, anti-inflammatory medications, supplements, injections, ultrasound therapy and sometimes surgery. However, it’s best to talk to your chiropractor or physiotherapist to determine the best treatment option for your condition.

Call Simcoe County Chiropractic today to schedule a consultation with Dr. Ron.