Winter With A Frozen Shoulder

Winter is upon us and lots of winter sports such as skiing might be on your mind. The only thing stopping you might be a frozen shoulder, otherwise known as adhesive capsulitis. This condition refers to a chronic limitation of shoulder movement related to adherence of the shoulder joint’s capsule to the underlying bone and itself. It can develop without a known cause, as well as a secondary condition to a different shoulder condition such as a rotator cuff strain. Regardless of why this painful and restricting condition develops, it tends to move through three overlapping stages:

Phase 1: In this phase, your shoulder will have minimal loss of motion, but you will notice a poorly localized ache in and around the shoulder, which can feel sharp with various movements.

Phase 2: In this phase, pain tends increase and motion tends to decrease into all planes of motion, especially outward rotation and elevation.

Phase 3: Once this phase occurs, pain begins to lessen, but stiffness and loss of motion become especially noticeable.

After phase 3, shoulder range of motion gradually returns on its own. The entire process can take two years or longer to resolve, but physical therapy can help speed up the natural progression of frozen shoulder via manual therapy, range of motion exercises, and eventually strengthening. Most people with this condition recover in 10-12 weeks with treatment.

Listen to your body’s wisdom and contact Cresswell Physical Therapy for tips on staying active while recuperating from injury.  We can be reached for appointments by calling (530) 244-7686.