Frozen shoulder syndrome (FSS) is a painful and debilitating condition of the shoulder where the arm movement is extremely limited. The slightest movement is extremely limited. The slightest movement can produce a great deal of pain. Frozen shoulder syndrome affects more women than men, and can also mimic conditions such as rotator cuff strain or tendonitis. You will always have imflammation and scar tissue formation around the joints.

The cause of FSS is not clear. Patients usually report having previously injured the shoulder at some point. This condition is more common in diabetics, occuring in 10-20% of these individuals. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons calls FSS a progressive condition that follows three stages: freezing, frozen, and thawing.

The Freezing Stage

The onset of shoulder pain is usually without any obvious physical cause. The symptoms include:

  • Pain gets worse over time
  • Limited range of motion of the shoulder
  • Constant ache and sharp pains felt at the end-range of motion
  • Can last from weeks to several months

The Frozen Stage

The shoulder can be classified as frozen once it has reached its maximum restricted movement pattern. Symptoms include:

  • Constant pain may subside but pain felt during movement
  • Cannot reach behind your back
  • Cannot move the arm toward the hitch-hikers’ position
  • Unable to bring the hand/arm above the height of the shoulder
  • Lasts up to nine months or more

The Thawing Stage

After the froze nstage, the patient will slowly be able to increase their pain=free range of motion. Without treatment there is a natural course of healing whereby frozen shoulder typically thaws within 12-18 months It’s a mystery to most why this syndrome occurs and the variable response rates to different treatments.

The Role of Chiropractic for FSS

Since nerves supply the shoulder joint and surrounding tissues originate in the neck, it is always advisable to have your chiropractor assess your neck for vertebral subluxations if you are suffering from this, or any other painful shoulder condition.

Exercise and stretching are the most recommended forms of complementary therapies for FSS.In the tougher cases where these therapies are ineffective, surgery may be an option.

If you or anyone you know may be suffering from FSS, let your chiropractor know. Chiropractic adjustments have shown to be a very effective treatment to help resolve this painful condition.

Remember to come in this month for a free adjustment and have a Happy Thanksgiving!