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Frozen Shoulder: What causes it and how can physical therapy help?

What is Frozen Shoulder?

Frozen shoulder is a common condition that causes pain and limited movement in the shoulder. It might feel like:

  • –you have difficulty reaching behind you
  • –it’s hard to lift your arms overhead
  • –pain in your shoulder at night or at rest
  • –you have restricted shoulder movement
  • –shoulder pain
  • –limited range of motion
  • –shoulder pain with movement
  • –difficulty with day-to-day functions (e.g., combing your hair, reaching behind you, lifting things, clipping your bra)

Symptoms might start gradually – with just a little bit of pain in the shoulder – and over time they might become progressively worse.

What are the stages of frozen shoulder?

With frozen shoulder, there are typically three stages. The three stages  three stages typically are:

  1. 1. Freezing state, when the shoulder starts to get tight and restricted
  2. 2. Frozen state, when the mobility is the most limited
  3. 3. Thawing state, which occurs when the shoulder starts to unravel itself and regain movement, either on its own or with the help of intervention.

The full cycle of frozen shoulder can last for a few months or up to a year.

How can I treat frozen shoulder?

At Rebalance, we believe it’s important to treat not only the shoulder joint, but also the musculature that goes on top of that capsule, which plays a significant role in frozen shoulder. It’s important to address fascia restrictions and release trigger points in the muscles.

Exercises to Improve Frozen Shoulder

In addition to physical therapy, there are exercises you can do at home to start to improve the mobility of the shoulder. It’s important to only do these exercises if you can do them WITHOUT pain. If you are experiencing pain, it’s better to work with a physical therapist to release the tissue and determine what exercises will support your treatment best.

See our video on four exercises to improve shoulder mobility for more information:

Physical Therapy and Frozen Shoulder

If you’re experiencing frozen shoulder, physical therapy can help improve your symptoms. Click here to schedule a complimentary phone consultation with one of our physical therapists to discuss your symptoms.

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