A Chip on the (Frozen) Shoulder
“Put your shoulder in, put your shoulder out, put your shoulder in and . . . ” Uh oh. Does this sound familiar? If you’re a sufferer of the all-too-common “frozen shoulder”, the next line of the popular children’s refrain needn’t apply – no shaking happening here!
What is “Frozen Shoulder?”
According to the Mayo Clinic, frozen shoulder (or adhesive capsulitis) is an inflammatory condition characterized by stiffness, rigidity, and pain in the shoulder joint. The bones, ligaments, and tendons of the shoulder joint are contained in a capsule-like sack of connective tissue – when this capsule thickens and constricts the shoulder joint, restricting its movement, frozen shoulder occurs – causing pain, loss of range of motion, and eventual immobility. The bad news? Left untreated, symptoms of frozen shoulder will worsen over time, meaning more pain, reduced range of motion, and less freedom. The good news? We’re here to help!
Am I at Risk?
According to a recent article in Men’s Health magazine, frozen shoulder is surprisingly common, affecting a whopping 3% of the population at some point in their lives. The condition tends to be slightly more common in women than men, but there are certain factors that increase your risk:
- Recent injury
Have you recently been the victim of a traumatic car accident, sudden fall, sports mishap, or surgery? Any trauma to the shoulder joint may inflame the region, increasing the risk for the development of frozen shoulder.
- Hormonal imbalance
The higher incidence of frozen shoulder in older women than in the population at large is thought to be correlated to the fluctuation of hormones women experience during the time of menopause.
- Poor posture
Are you a chronic sloucher? Over time, poor posture may lead to structural abnormalities and musculoskeletal inflammation, increasing the risk of rigidity and thus, frozen shoulder.
How Can We Help?
During the “frozen” phase, physical therapists and rehabilitation specialists may recommend a variety of measures, including;
- Chiropractic adjustment
- Trigger point massage
- Neuromuscular Reeducation
- Physical therapy
The key with frozen shoulder, more important perhaps than any other measure, is to address the condition swiftly. Adhesive capsulitis is a degenerative condition, and the sooner professional intervention is obtained, the sooner you’re back to the life you love! Pouring your morning cup of coffee, picking up your child, tossing a football – get back in the game of life and extend your reach – don’t let frozen shoulder hold you back!