Frozen shoulder treatment: 5 ways physical therapists can help you

Ever heard of frozen shoulder? It’s a term for adhesive capsulitis of the shoulder, which is a condition that involves the shoulder joint becoming stiff and painful over a gradual period. Research estimates that anywhere from 5% to 20% of the population could be affected by frozen shoulder at least once during their lifetime. 

If you’re unfamiliar with this condition, it’s important to know that it usually progresses in three stages. The first stage, called the freezing stage, is when the shoulder first starts to become painful and stiff, lasting a few months. The second stage, called the frozen stage, involves even more stiffness and a little less pain. This second stage can last several months to a year. The third stage is called the thawing stage, where for a few months, the stiffness begins to improve.

If you think you may be dealing with a frozen shoulder, keep reading. We’ll go over some of the symptoms, as well as ways that physical therapy can help.

What are some of the symptoms of frozen shoulder?

The symptoms of frozen shoulder are most typically stiffness and shoulder pain. The severity of the stiffness and pain varies, especially across the three stages. In some cases, the symptoms of frozen shoulder will feel worse at night. Fortunately, these symptoms can be managed through treatment during physical therapy.

What are some of the causes of frozen shoulder?

To gain a clearer picture of frozen shoulder, it’s necessary to list some of the most common causes, which are:

  • A past injury — One possible cause of frozen shoulder is a past injury. If you’ve ever hurt your shoulder in the past, you may be more vulnerable to developing frozen shoulder and needing treatment.

  • Diabetes — People who have diabetes are another group of people who have an increased risk of this condition.

  • Thyroid disease — Those who have been diagnosed with thyroid disease may also develop frozen shoulder.

  • A past surgery — If you’ve undergone shoulder surgery in the past or recently, you may be at risk of developing this condition.

Experts aren’t exactly sure why some people develop frozen shoulder. Although there may be a couple of different diseases or medical events that make it more likely, the biggest common denominator is immobility. Those who don’t regularly move their shoulders are more susceptible to developing this unique shoulder condition.

What are some of the ways physical therapists can help people with their frozen shoulder treatment?

Fortunately, physical therapy can be used to help minimize pain and stiffness for people who have frozen shoulder. Here are some of the specific ways that physical therapists can provide frozen shoulder treatment:

  • Aquatic therapyAquatic therapy is a specialized physical therapy treatment method. It’s designed to be able to help individuals perform movements and exercises in a low-stress environment for their body. It can help someone with frozen shoulder, for example, move their shoulder with minimal pain, to work through any stiffness.

  • Joint mobilization — Joint mobilization is another treatment method that may be used to deal with frozen shoulder. It can be used to help stretch and mobilize the shoulder when it becomes stiff.

  • Gentle joint stretching — Gentle joint stretching serves a purpose similar to joint mobilization. It can gently exercise the shoulder joint to improve mobility.

  • Iontophoresis — Iontophoresis is an anti-inflammatory treatment method that can be used to reduce swelling and inflammation in a frozen shoulder.

  • Custom home exercise programs — Custom home exercise programs can be effective tools for those with frozen shoulder. This is because they can provide someone with a treatment plan to exercise their shoulder even when they’re not in their PT clinic, and it’s completely personalized to their unique condition.

Let Lattimore PT help you get the right physical therapy care for your frozen shoulder

Lattimore Physical Therapy & Sports Rehabilitation Network first got its start in 1992. John and Cindy Shuman, husband and wife, first launched their own physical therapy practice with the aim to improve the quality of life of each member of their community. Since 1992, Lattimore PT has opened nearly 30 locations across New York.

Our team of talented physical therapists spread across the state is dedicated to understanding the treatment that works best for you. We specialize in taking a hands-on, interactive approach with each of our patients to provide them with the best care possible. We love to see our patients thrive, which is why we’ll do as much as we can to help get them to that point. The physical therapists at each of our Lattimore locations take pride in their work and do their best to come to the clinic each day with a smiling face. We aim to make each physical therapy session enjoyable yet productive. The ultimate mark of success, to us, is a patient who feels positively impacted by our work. Are you ready to experience “the Lattimore way”?

Let us help you get on the road toward recovery with personalized frozen shoulder treatment. Your shoulder stiffness and pain don’t need to be the primary focus of your life. We can help you manage your symptoms to improve your quality of life.

Contact our team today for more information or to schedule an initial appointment.

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