What is Frozen Shoulder?
“a soft tissue capsular lesion accompanied by painful and restricted active and passive motion at the glenohumeral joint”(Grubbs 1993).
Frozen Shoulder can last for anywhere between 12-40 months without treatment and is often debilitating for a person both physically and mentally.
What does this mean?
Basically, Frozen Shoulder is is painful inflammation of the shoulder ligaments resulting in a decrease in movement. Frozen shoulder passes through a Pre Phase and three definite phases:
Pre Phase 1
Considered a “pre-adhesive”stage, people usually present with signs and symptoms of ‘impingement syndrome’, full range of movement at the shoulder is present but catching in certain positions is present.
Phase 1 – Freezing
This is the painful stage. People tend to self immobilise their shoulder which only serves to make the stiffness worse. NIGHT PAINis a common feature of this stage and the inability to sleep on the affected side. People will usually complain of 3 types of pain:
# Constant internal dull burning
# Pain down the outside of the arm
# Severe catching pain with movement
At this stage the shoulder will start to stiffen rapidly.
Phase 2 – Frozen
In this stage night pain may still be present but simple tasks become increasingly difficult to perform. Pain can often be felt in the forearm and hand and swelling of the hand may be present.
Phase 3 – Thawing
This is the ‘resolving’ phase. Without treatment this my occur after 12 months but restricted movement may still be present for years.
Several factors may make someone more susceptible to developing Frozen Shoulder:
# Being female – Frozen shoulder affects slightly more than males 60:40 (Basland 1990) and typically between 40 and 60 years of age (Grubbs 1993)
# Aging – you are more prone to developing frozen shoulder with age
# Posture – Especially with shoulder intensive work or if you play sports which requires a lot of rounding of shoulder e.g golf
# Diabetes – If you have diabetes you chances of developing frozen shoulder increases dramatically
# Trauma – As a result of fracture or following surgery such as a mastectomy
Treatment with the Neil-Asher Technique
I treat frozen shoulder with the Neil-Asher Technique (NAT). This is a purely natural hands on technique which does involve forcing the shoulder joint into painful positions or any Dry Needling. It involves a specific sequence of massage strokes to the soft tissue.
The technique fools the body into healing itself and stimulating a new pathway to the brain, which will rapidly relive injury and spasm.