Chiropractic treatment has developed a strong reputation as an effective treatment for frozen shoulder. From dealing with the immediate pain, discomfort and lack of movement, to giving the body’s self-healing capabilities a boost to enable the condition to pass quickly, chiropractic has a powerful track record. But what exactly is a frozen shoulder and what can you do to avoid this debilitating condition?
Frozen shoulder is a relatively common condition that causes one or other shoulder to become stiff and painful. Typically, it starts with an uncomfortable feeling in the shoulder, which then progresses into a more painful sensation and then increasing stiffness.
It is the stiffness that most people find debilitating and, in the severest of cases, some individuals may find that they cannot move their shoulder at all. As with most medical problems, the earlier a frozen shoulder is diagnosed the greater the chance of successful treatment of the condition, but what actually causes it?
Causes of frozen shoulder
Frozen shoulder, otherwise known as shoulder contracture or adhesive capsulitis, manifests when the sleeve that covers the main joint of the shoulder becomes thick and swollen. Why this swelling and thickness occurs is unknown.
The shoulder, like the hip, is a ball and socket joint. The top of your humerus (arm bone) sits snugly inside the scapula (the socket of the shoulder blade). This joint is surrounded by a sleeve, or capsule as it commonly known, which stretches and contracts with the movement of our arms.
The swelling and thickness that forms in a frozen shoulder is an accumulation of bands of scar tissue that appear inside the capsule itself. As the capsule begins to thicken and swell up over time, the space inside the joint becomes limited. This is what causes the lack of movement associated with frozen shoulder.
Who can get a frozen shoulder?
Strictly speaking, anyone can end up with a frozen shoulder. Not a great deal is known about what causes frozen shoulder to occur, but it is believed that certain factors make people more likely to suffer with the condition:
• Age – Frozen shoulder is seen most often in people aged between 40 and 60
• Gender – Women suffer from frozen shoulder more often than men
• Previous injury – Those who have suffered a previous shoulder injury are more likely to get frozen shoulder
• Diabetics – Although the reason behind it is unknown, those with diabetes tend to show a greater risk of having a frozen shoulder at some point in their lives. It is believed that the chances of the condition developing in diabetics is twice as likely as those without diabetes
• Other health problems – Things such as previously having a stroke, heart or lung disease, issues with the thyroid gland, breast cancer, and Dupuytren’s contracture can all leave a person at greater risk of developing a frozen shoulder
What’s the treatment?
The treatment that is recommended for a frozen shoulder largely depends upon the stage that the condition is at. As the pain and lack of movement generally worsens with time, catching it as early as possible is vital to a full recovery. The sooner you schedule to see your chiropractor the quicker and easier it will be for them to help you – you will also save yourself a lot of pain and discomfort, and get back to normal life sooner.
In the early stages, light shoulder exercises can often get more movement back into the joint. Most sufferers welcome the relief from the stiffness of a frozen shoulder, but some find the exercises difficult, as the pain can be quite great initially.
Your chiropractor will give you specific exercises for your condition. It is wise to follow their expert advice as stretching in the wrong way could actually cause you more damage.
Chiropractic treatment can bring relief in the majority of instances, and keeping the mechanics of the body in good working order can go some way to preventing the condition occurring in the first place.