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Shoulder Pain

Physiotherapy for Frozen Shoulder, Bursitis and Elbow Pain

Woman with shoulder painThe ball and socket joint in our shoulders is complex, especially when you consider all the muscles and ligaments that attached at the same point. In the same way, your elbow is often susceptible to overloading and repetitive strain injuries such as ‘tennis elbow’. Any part of the body where multiple muscles connect to the bone through ligaments can be a cause for pain, strain, over exertion.

When muscles are over-used, tightness can pull on the connective tissue causing strain on the ligaments and the place where the ligaments joint to the bone. As well as this- misalignments within the joint can cause pain within the joint itself and have a radiating effect on the other ligaments and muscles connected to the joint.

One of the conditions our physio is able to treat is the painful and debilitating condition known as frozen shoulder.

Physio Treatment for Frozen Shoulder

What is Frozen Shoulder?

Frozen shoulder, or using its medical term “adhesive capsulitis” is used to describe the condition where the joint and connective tissue around the shoulder thickens and stiffens causing a restriction of movement. Due to these restrictions, chronic and persistent pain can severely restrict daily activities and can last from several months up to 3 years.

It can occur at any time. Occasionally it can occur after a localised injury but more often it has no obvious cause. There is no evidence to suggest there is a link between frozen shoulder and inflammatory or autoimmune conditions. Sometimes it just happens.

Who Gets Frozen Shoulder?

Frozen shoulder often occurs in people over the age of 50 and presents more in females than males, however- there is no discernible cause for frozen shoulder. It is very rare to occur in people below 40 years of age. The likelihood of developing frozen shoulder however is increased if you also suffer from other health problems such as heart or lung disease, diabetes, stroke or other connective tissue disorders.

Diagnosis and Treatment for Frozen Shoulder

The three main symptoms of frozen shoulder are:

  • Onset of pain with no obvious cause
  • Pain that is worse at night or in colder weather
  • Loss of mobility of the external rotation of the shoulder

The physio would discuss the nature of the condition, conduct a series of mobility tests to identify range of movement and in some cases request an x-ray to ensure there is no other cause for the movement restriction.

There are also 3 stages of pain and restriction with frozen shoulder. They are:

  • Freezing- over a period of 6 weeks – 9 months the shoulder slowly becomes more painful and loses mobility. Forward mobility is generally lost first, followed by mobility in other directions. DO NOT OVERSTRETCH at this stage as this can accelerate the condition and worsen the symptoms
  • Frozen- this stage usually persists between 4 – 9 months. Pain during this phase has settled however movement is at its most restricted. Seeking therapeutic treatment at this time has not been proven to show much benefit
  • Thawing- Lasting somewhere between 5-26 months this stage is where the pain decreases and mobility returns. This sit he best time to start mobility, stretching and strength training to return the joint to optimum functionality.

Once frozen shoulder has been identified, treatment will include patient specific prescribed stretches initially to increase range of movement. These are best done regularly, up to three times a day. Once flexibility has been restored, strengthening exercises will be prescribed to bring the muscle mass back after not being used for the shoulder, arm, scapula and postural muscles.

For pain management, physical therapies such as mobilisation, heat treatment, ultrasound treatment and the use of a TENS machine (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) that causes contractions in the muscles through an electrical impulse may be used.

Offering an Array of Customisable Solutions

Our physiotherapists and chiropractors seek to find the cause of your concern and determine how best to help you. We may address your posture, improve the flexibility of your shoulder muscles, increase your range of motion in the shoulder area, create a strength or flexibility training program and provide exercise to rehabilitate and stretch the shoulder.

Don’t Suffer Needlessly

Contact our clinic today to get help for your shoulder pain! Saturday and same-day appointments are available.

Shoulder Pain Ellenbrook, Swan ValleyWA | 08 9297 4800