Shoulder problems - frozen shoulder

The shoulder joint is surrounded by tissue called the 'capsule'. The capsule hangs in folds under the joint and if there is tissue damage causing bleeding in the area or disuse, the capsule can become sealed and this severely restricts the shoulder movement.

Causes of frozen shoulder, or more correctly 'adhesive capsulitis' are:-
- trauma such as a fall or repetitive overhead use
- disuse. This can happen when the arm is held in a sling for a long period for reason of a lower forearm fracture.

The medical view is that if left alone, a frozen shoulder is very painful for 6 months, becomes very stiff for 6 months and then recovers for six months. An 18 month recovery!

Osteopathic manipulation, physiotherapy and exercises can all be helpful in speeding up the process. It also has to be said that the 'frozen shoulder' is an overused diagnosis and other causes of shoulder pain should be considered before making this diagnosis.

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