Frozen Shoulder

Defrosting a frozen shoulder by Jackie Manning, ARNP

If someone gives you the cold shoulder, don’t take it personally. They might be dealing with PAC, which can make folks a little grouchy…understandably. This pesky, aching inflammation issue known as primary/idiopathic adhesive capsulitis (PAC), affects an estimated 5% of the population. More common in women than men, those who have PAC may feel an intense pain in the shoulder, along with limited movement. Typically occurring during the fourth or fifth decade of life, around one in five people who have had PAC in one shoulder will develop it in the other.

So you may wondering what causes PAC? Causes are not fully understood, but the most accepted explanation is that PAC results from a chronic inflammatory response associated with synovial inflammation, followed by capsular fibrosis. In other words, the condition is really a series of inflammation symptoms rather than a single event. In most cases, those with frozen shoulder endure pain and loss of movement lasting between one month and two years. Yes, TWO YEARS!

Clinical phases of PAC are as follows:                              

Stage 1: Freezing (symptoms lasting 3-9 months) – Pain worsens (especially at night), and patient loses active and passive range of motion without degenerative changes on x-ray.

Stage 2: Frozen (symptoms lasting 9-15 months) – Stiffness limits range of motion with less pain toward the end of the stage.

Stage 3: Thawing (symptoms lasting 15-24 months) – ROM improves and pain lessens.

A recent study on PAC treatments, concluded that mobility techniques lead to improvements, along with medications and local steroid injections.

At Strive, our team has expertise in functional mobilization techniques and a variety of other treatments. We can evaluate, diagnose and integrate solid interventions to shorten the lifespan of the condition and reduce the PAIN.  The key to getting rid of pain and back into movement, is to defrost that shoulder as soon as symptoms begin.  At Strive, we can work together to find therapies and defrosting methods to get you back to doing the activities you enjoy. The sooner you contact us, the sooner you feel like YOU again, even if you are becoming reacquainted with a version of yourself you haven’t seen in years. No cold shoulders here. Nothing but warmth at Strive!