Frozen Shoulder in London
What is a frozen shoulder?
Frozen shoulder is also known as adhesive capsulitis which can be a very unpleasant painful condition and results in a severe loss of motion in the shoulder. It affects an average of 3% of the population at any one time and most of those people tend to be in their 50s or 60s. The definition of a frozen shoulder is where both the patient and the practitioner are not able to lift the arm at the shoulder because it’s ‘locked’ in place with very little movement in any direction. The shoulder ‘freezes up’ due to severe inflammation of the joint capsules. The loose tissue of the joint capsule that usually allows a great deal of motion at the shoulder, sticks together, limiting the movement. It can be debilitating causing severe stiffness, an aching pain in the outer shoulder area or upper arm and often the pain doesn’t go away for months or years and is worse at night. If you have a frozen shoulder you will have difficulty performing everyday tasks such as throwing, lifting or reaching.
The exact cause of frozen shoulder is uncertain. It often starts for no apparent reason and is a mystery but it can also be linked with previous injury like a fracture, surgery or long term immobility of the shoulder. For example, a frozen shoulder may begin following other injuries where the shoulder is not moved around normally because of other injury often after a wrist fracture where the arm may be kept in a sling for several weeks or following a stroke. There is also evidence that patients with poorly controlled diabetes are at an increased risk of developing frozen shoulder.
How does osteopathy help?
Osteopathy is a system of diagnosing and treating medical conditions that focus on the structure and the functioning of the whole body. It’s based on the idea that your overall health and wellbeing depend on your musclo-skeletal system (bones, muscles, ligaments and soft connective tissues) all working together coherently and inter-related rather than addressing a specific illness or symptom. Osteopaths are trained professionals who focus on detecting, treating and preventing health problems mainly by using joint movement, mobilisation, stretching and massage.
Many people choose osteopathy because the treatment does not require medication and is considered a more natural approach than conventional medicine. Part of the treatment can be to offer management strategies for your own condition and advice to prevent your problems from returning. This may also involve teaching you about posture, movement habits, gentle stretching and strengthening exercises to continue with at home and using techniques such as hydrotherapy (hot and cold packs). Most frozen shoulders can be treated effectively with osteopathy. However, sometimes an osteopath may need to refer you to your GP for further tests or scans.
What will happen during the appointment?
During your initial consultation we will take time to discuss your case history, how the frozen shoulder is affecting your life, how long you’ve had it and look at your lifestyle as well as conducting a thorough physical examination analysing your structure to ensure an accurate diagnosis. It’s important to get a quick diagnosis by an osteopath because a frozen shoulder without any intervention may last up to 2 years so it is essential to avoid a longer recovery period. From there we will talk you through our findings and devise an appropriate treatment plan.
Surgery is not normally needed and osteopathic treatment can help relieve a frozen shoulder. Osteopathic treatment approach for frozen shoulder aims to increase the range of movement in the shoulder joint which in turn will decrease pain levels. It involves a variety of techniques including soft tissue massage, articulation, stretching, pressure techniques and gentle manipulation where appropriate. The treatment aims to eradicate pain from the area, restore normal function, full movement, full strength and help the body to heal naturally. Your osteopath will also address any other problems such as elbow, neck, or upper back pain.
If you are experiencing Frozen Shoulder then please book in to see us for advice, exercise prescription and osteopathic treatment.
If you think you might suffer from Frozen Shoulder and would like help please do not hesitate to contact us.