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How to release a frozen shoulder

Frozen shoulder is a condition that arises when the shoulder joint is stiff or restricted, causing pain and decreased range of motion in the shoulder

Most commonly, frozen shoulder develops after a period of shoulder immobilization, such as after shoulder surgery or injury; however, the cause of frozen shoulder is largely unknown.
To treat a frozen shoulder, we recommend working with a physiotherapist to develop a custom program that focuses on stretching and range of motion exercises. Recovery for a frozen shoulder typically takes 6 months but can take up to 3 years depending on the severity of the condition.
The best way to prevent developing a frozen shoulder is to keep the shoulder joint moving to ensure a healthy range of motion.

 

What are the symptoms of a frozen shoulder?

Frozen shoulder occurs when the shoulder joint is restricted. A frozen shoulder may limit your ability to move your shoulder under your own power and will limit the shoulder’s range of motion, even when someone else is stretching your shoulder for you.
Some typical symptoms of frozen shoulder include:
  • Shoulder pain
  • Shoulder stiffness
  • Decreased range of motion in the shoulder

What are the most common causes of frozen shoulder?

Although the root cause of a frozen shoulder is largely unknown, individuals can often develop a frozen shoulder from any condition that prevents them from moving their shoulder for an extended period of time.
This includes conditions such as fractures and shoulder surgeries where a period of immobilization is necessary to heal.
In general, you are more likely to get a frozen shoulder if you have experienced:
  • Shoulder injury
  • Shoulder surgery
  • Stroke
  • Diabetes

What is the most effective treatment for a frozen shoulder?

At The Bridge, we take an active approach when treating patients with a frozen shoulder. We start with exercises focussed on increasing the shoulder’s range of motion, as well as manually assisted stretching and joint mobilizations.
Our physiotherapists will also prescribe a personalized home exercise program depending on the patient’s stage of recovery.
Frozen shoulders normally progress through 3 stages: freezing, frozen, and thawing. The duration of the stages can vary but each typically lasts several months. Treatment timelines for frozen shoulders can vary considerably from person-to-person, however, recovery time typically ranges from 6 months to 3 years for most patients.
Starting physiotherapy treatment in a timely manner following the onset of your symptoms can greatly improve your recovery time and outcomes.

 

How can I prevent frozen shoulder from happening?

The best way to prevent a frozen shoulder is to keep it moving. If you have recently undergone shoulder surgery or a shoulder injury, we recommend starting a rehab program that includes exercises to help expand your range of motion as soon as possible. Your physiotherapist will be able to advise you on what movements you’re able to do to maintain your shoulder mobility during your recovery process.
Keep in mind that sometimes a period of immobilization is necessary following surgery or fracture. In this case, speak to your surgeon or doctor about when you can start physiotherapy and ensure that you start as soon as you’re advised to do so.

The Bridge model consists of three pillars

Relieve pain

Injury treatment and management to relieve pain, including physiotherapy, massage and chiropractic treatment.

get stronger

We introduce strength and mobility exercises to build tolerance to the demands of your activity and to develop more efficient movement patterns, making sure you don’t get hurt again.

improve performance

Performance or return to sport training: Is the last part of our model and reserved for those needing to return to a competitive sport or wanting to train at a higher level.

Contact us today and learn how our team can help you build a recovery plan, in person or virtually.

Book an in-person appointment

Book a session at one of our three locations in Edmonton and Sherwood Park.

Book a virtual appoinTment

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