Frozen Shoulder Physical Therapy

Your shoulder is one of the most mobile joints within the body. Because it's very mobile, it is also very unstable. Most of the shoulder movement occurs between the ball (humerus) and socket (glenoid). This loose shoulder joint is supported by strong ligaments and muscles. If there are any dysfunction with any of these things, there will be problems with movement and strength.

Frozen shoulder is a painful condition. There is no direct evidence how frozen shoulder (adhesive capsulitis) is caused. It occurs more regularly with people who have a thyroid gland condition and diabetes. The way you can really test if you're suffering with frozen shoulder is by performing a thorough physical examination. A x-ray image would show no bone changes in your shoulder joint.

A physical therapist can determine the best frozen shoulder treatment for you. During your first physical therapy examination, the therapist will ask you to do certain shoulder movement.

The first movement will be the active movement (movement that is performed with your own strength) and passive movement (the physiotherapist will move the joint for you).

If you raise your shoulder at less than 90-110 degrees and the passive movement of abduction (outward rotation of the shoulder) is 50% less than the unaffected side, you may have frozen shoulder. In addition, passive and active internal rotation (moving your arms inwards) is more limited than your unaffected side.

Your physical therapist would then give you appropriate shoulder exercises for you. During the first stage of physical therapy, the goals of treatment are to reduce pain and maintain range of movement. In the middle and later stages of frozen shoulder treatment, the goals are to improve range of motion and improve muscle strength. A full exercise rehabilitation program should be set up for you so you will get the best possible outcome.