Frozen shoulder is a mysterious condition. Unlike other injuries, it develops when you have not been moving your joint frequently enough. It is the only joint in the body that will seize up like that. It mainly affects people aged 40 and above. Roughly 0.75% of people will suffer from it at some point (it is rarer than we used to think) Women are more prone to develop this condition.
Frozen shoulder is also called adhesive capsulitis and what we see in the joint is fibrosis and the contraction of the joint capsule, tendons, and rotator cuff muscles – hence the name of the condition. Your shoulder is stuck and can’t be moved.
What is causing it?
It very often happens following a period of inactivity; for example when you had a prior shoulder injury, fracture, or for some other reason you did not move your shoulder joint frequently enough. Stroke patients are at risk too. There is also a clear and strong link between frozen shoulder and
1. Diabetes (30% of patients with frozen shoulder have diabetes)
2. Metabolic syndrome and obesity
Frozen shoulder is a painful condition, restricting movements of your shoulder and arm. Sadly it can last years. It is true that in some cases patients may see rapid improvements but this is rare.
I am a Chartered Physiotherapist and Master Myofascial Therapist practicing in Southampton, Hampshire. I was working in the NHS between 2008 and 2021. My speciality lies in treating musculoskeletal conditions and providing community rehabilitation.