Frozen shoulder is a poorly understood condition, sometimes referred to as “adhesive capsulitis”. At its worst, sufferers will have virtually constant pain and may be unable to move the affected arm more than a few degrees in any direction. There are 3 distinct stages: freezing, frozen and thawing. The conditon may eventually resolve itself to some degree but, without treatment, this can take up to 3 years and most sufferers are left with some degree of pain or restricted movement.
Often there is no obvious cause for a frozen shoulder, but it can be associated with other medical conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease or thyroid disorders.
The clip here from Radio 4’s “Inside health” gives an excellent overview of the options, as seen by very experienced shoulder surgeon Simon Lambert, consultant to the Problem Shoulder Unit at The Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital in Stanmore, London. The preferred surgery these days is a keyhole incision to trim away and release thickened tissue, but even Mr Lambert accepts that his results are good only because he selects his patients carefully – unless your movement is extremely restricted (unable to point your forearm directly to the front) he recommends physical therapy (actually, he says “physiotherapy”, but we’ll forgive him that!).
Several members of our team have undertaken specialist training in Frozen Shoulder treatment. The technique we use was developed by one of the UK’s leading osteopaths. In a Randomised Placebo Controlled Trial conducted at Cambridge’s Addenbrookes Hospital, this technique was shown to produce a significant reduction in pain, together with considerable increases in strength and movement when compared to physiotherapy or a placebo. The evidence very strongly indicated that the technique we use is more effective than any of the conventional alternatives available.
Treating frozen shoulders is not a simple process. It is likely to take between 8 and 12 appointments to restore normal function, although we should be able to relieve your pain within 4 sessions. Occasionally, we may need to refer you for other investigations, as there are a number of conditions which can mimic the symptoms of frozen shoulder.
If you think you’ve got a frozen shoulder, but you’re not sure, book in for a free consultation with us and let us help you make the right decision about whether you will benefit from treatment.