A frozen shoulder is the feeling of stiffness or lack of motion in the shoulder region, typically going hand-in-hand with pain and discomfort. This condition typically impacts women over the age of 40.
Typically, you will notice limited mobility and stiffness when trying to lift the arm overhead along with a steady dull aching sensation in the shoulder region.
Stage One – Freezing Stage
At this point, you will begin to notice a painful sensation in your shoulder, accentuated when trying to do everyday things like getting dressed, reaching for various items, and bathing yourself. Lasting anywhere from a couple of months to nearly a year, it is recommended that you do not sleep on your injured side during this time.
Stage Two – Frozen Stage
At this point, your shoulder is becoming more stiff than you believed possible. The only benefit to this stiffness is that the level of pain does not increase along with it. During this time, which typically runs from about 3 months to a year, you may notice your shoulder muscles beginning to atrophy from lack of use.
Stage Three – Thawing Stage
This period of time, lasting anywhere from around five months to several years, is where you will notice some mobility returning to the injured area. Your shoulder pain will all but disappear, though it will still occasionally rear its head as the stiffness lessens. While you won’t have full movement restored, you will be happy to notice that everyday tasks are becoming easier to accomplish.
While this injury typically just requires patience and time for a full recovery, our movement therapists can hasten the recovery process by diagnosing your specific compensation patterns and determining what type of stretching and movement exercises help your shoulder regain full range and decrease pain. We often look up and down the kinetic chain to discover any additional factors contributing to your shoulder symptoms.