Frozen Shoulder Treatment

Electra Health Floor provides treatment for frozen shoulder at Vancouver clinic

Our downtown Vancouver clinic has over 20 RMT’s on staff,
several of whom are professionally trained to treat frozen shoulder.

Frozen Shoulder Treatment
Vancouver Massage Therapy Clinic

Electra Health Floor – 970 Burrard Street, Vancouver BC
Open 7 days a week from 8 am to 8 pm
604-685-4325 (HEAL)

Written by Mike Dixon, RMT

What is a frozen shoulder?

frozen-shoulder therapyFrozen shoulder is a layman’s term used for the condition Adhesive Capsulitis. Capsulitis refers to the capsule of the shoulder, “itis” refers to inflammation and adhesive refers to the fact that the inflammation has caused the capsule to become adhered. When the capsule gets inflamed, the body forms fibrin (scar tissue) to heal the area. This scar tissue is what causes the capsule to become adhered, and the result of the build up of the fibrin causes the shoulder to become “frozen”. Frozen shoulder is a very painful condition that causes range of motion to become very limited, making simple tasks like combing your hair or reaching the upper shelf very difficult.

What causes frozen shoulder?

The answer to this question is unclear. There is no known or exact cause but there are some predominant factors associated with those who suffer from the condition. For example, frozen shoulder is predominantly associated with female patients around the age of fifty. In Japan it is so common that they call it the fifty-year-old shoulder. It’s unclear why this is the case, but it may be related to menopause and hormonal changes. Other related causes seem more clear, such as developing frozen shoulder following a fall or traumatic event such as a motor vehicle accident, or a FOOSH injury (falling on an outstretched hand).

frozen-shoulder-treatment-vancouverThe stages of frozen shoulder

The progression of the condition can be broken down into three stages: the freezing stage, the frozen stage and the thawing stage.

The Freezing Stage

This is the beginning stage during which the tissue around the shoulder is highly inflamed, making it the most painful stage. The inflammation manifests five cardinal symptoms: Pain, Swelling, Heat, Redness and Loss of function. Often the pain wakes the sufferer throughout the night.

The Frozen Stage

This is when the initial inflammation has subsided due to the fact that the body has laid down a lot of fibrin (scar tissue) in order to reduce it. The buildup of fibrin “freezes” and drastically limits the range of motion of the shoulder.

The Thawing Stage

This is when the shoulder starts to become mobile again as it “unfreezes”. One explanation as to why this occurs is that because the condition is no longer painful—since the inflammation has been reduced by the fibrin—the person can slowly begin to move the shoulder again with little to no pain. The movement causes the joint to produce a lubricant called synovial fluid. Like grease for the joint, the fluid works its way into the capsule. As the joint becomes more and more lubricated, the fibrin (scar tissue) starts to break up and is reabsorbed by the body. Mobility and function return and the cycle is complete.

Is there any treatment for frozen shoulder?

vancouver-frozen-shoulder-treatmentThere are a number of treatment options that can reduce the pain and help the condition to move through the stages faster. During the first stage, the treatment is primarily pain management. Gentle massage and passive range of motion techniques help to maintain mobility and relieve some of the pain. Also, ice applications can help inhibit the inflammation, thus reducing the pain experienced. However, please take care not to over-cool the skin as it can cause an ice burn.

During the second stage, massage and the introduction of stretching and joint mobilizations help to restore mobility. Specific exercises can help prevent muscular wasting (atrophy) and maintain joint biomechanics and integrity, which help in the production of the synovial fluid that is so important to the process of “thawing” the shoulder.

Once the condition has entered the thawing stage, it is helpful to ensure that proper exercise techniques are performed as range of motion increases. Again, joint mobilizations expedite the recovery process since they help to increase further production of synovial fluid, which in turn helps break down the scar tissue. Continued massage is recommended to help with muscular tension and soreness associated with the longer-term immobility brought on by the condition.

If you wished to be assessed or treated for frozen shoulder in Vancouver, please make an appointment with Vancouver shoulder specialist Mike Dixon RMT at the link below.

Book Your Appointment

We have over 20 RMT’s on staff, several of whom are professionally trained to treat frozen shoulder – Vancouver Massage Therapy Clinic

Frozen Shoulder Treatment
Vancouver Massage Therapy Clinic

Electra Health Floor – 970 Burrard Street, Vancouver BC
Open 7 days a week from 8 am to 8 pm
604-685-4325 (HEAL)

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