The shoulder is a complex structure that takes years of study to really understand. I know this by experience with fractures, rotator cuff, and ligament tears all occurring at different occasions from different traumas, talk about complex. Anyone who tells you otherwise you should be leery of, while only 3 bones make up the joint it is anything but simple. Frozen shoulder is one of the complex problems that gives’ many practitioners problems when dealing with the shoulder.
What is Frozen Shoulder?
Frozen shoulder, like is sounds is a shoulder that is not moving right, and is often times referred to as adhesive capsulitis. The reason the cause of this is unknown is the shoulder has so many things can cause it, but the end result is the same a painful shoulder that does not move right. Many times trauma, long periods of immobilization, surgery, diabetes, thyroid problems, whiplash injuries, and even a desk job can be a part of the cause.
Research suggests that it all starts with inflammation in the shoulder capsule, which anytime inflammation is present fibrosis occurs. In layman’s terms this means scar tissue is created. This makes the shoulder capsule thicker, stiffer and more densely innervated with nociceptive pain fibers. But the real question should be what is causing the inflammation in the first place? Is it biomechanical, neurological, or disease orientated or a mixture of them.
Frozen Shoulder Symptoms and progression
Often times’ there is a considerable amount of shoulder pain both with movement of the arm and at rest. At this point you probably don’t remember the event or injury that caused this to occur, it could have been months, years, or decades that lead up to this point.
The initial “painful stage” may last for many months, causing you to use the shoulder less and less causing it to become stiffer and stiffer reducing your range of motion, making it difficult to get dressed in the morning and reaching over head or backwards.
In the ”frozen Stage” next phase, 4-12 months, the pain will progressively lessen. Most of the time the shoulder pain only rears its ugly head with certain motions or stretches which you will avoid making your shoulder even more immobile.
The final stage is the “thawing stage” your motion slowly and steadily returns. The entire course of frozen shoulder can take a year to two years.
Frozen Shoulder Treatment in Fort Collins
Treatment for frozen shoulder takes time and persistence by both you and your doctor. There are few short cuts by the time your shoulder is truly frozen. Depending on the underlying cause, and how soon we get involved treatment times can be drastically reduced.
First and foremost we must improve the neurologic connection from your brain to your body. Often times Frozen shoulder starts neurologically with Cranial Nerve 11 which innervates the trapezius, which is one of 17 muscles that controls and stabilizes you shoulder blade as you move your shoulder. The ergonomics of how your desk can also contribute to this cranial nerve neuropraxia, ischemia and inflammation.
Biomechanically the cause could have been a trauma or injury to the shoulder the spine, an ankle or other injury in the same kinetic chain. The shoulder capsule needs to be addressed, and its motion improved to speed recovery. This is achieved with adjustments and specific stretches designed to affect the scar tissue and fibrosis increase your lost range of motion gradually. Modalities such as interferential therapy and cold laser are used to speed up treatment as well.
So if you are looking for a solution to your Frozen Shoulder in Fort Collins, call our Fort Collins Chiropractor today at 970-491-9191, and begin the journey to deal with what is causing you problem.