Most frozen shoulder treatments (or Adhesive Capsulitis treatments) aim to control the pain, and maintain as much range of motion in the shoulder as possible. Treatment during the freezing stage may include non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) medications, gentle physiotherapy, and home exercises. It is important to avoid any aggressive therapies or activities during this period.
During the stiffening and thawing stages, common treatment options may include physiotherapy, cortisone or saline injections, manipulation under anesthesia (under general anesthesia, a physician will move around the shoulder joint to try to loosen the tightened tissue), or in rare cases, surgery.
Alternatively, Cold Laser Therapy is a non-invasive treatment that can be introduced at any stage. Unlike other treatments, it uses light-based energy to safely reduce inflammation and pain. More importantly, it helps the body naturally break down the Internal Scar Tissue adhesions in the shoulder joint, to help regain it’s mobility (visit our Internal Scar Tissue page to learn more).
Transfers light energy to the affected cells of muscle, regenerating and strengthening damaged muscle tissue to prevent future injury.
Speeds up the body's natural inflammation phase and induces the repair phase of healing.
Removes Internal Scar Tissue:
Inhibits and removes Internal Scar Tissue that naturally forms from injury or repetitive strain, causing discomfort and a delay in healing.
Helps damaged nerves to recover by growing the neural network and repairing vital insulation around the nerve.
Stimulates Blood Flow:
Increases the delivery of oxygen and nutrients required for healing of the affected cells.
Visit our Cold Laser Therapy page to learn more about how the treatment works.
Many people believe they have frozen shoulder, likely because it is a common term and easy to remember. However, classic frozen shoulder, or adhesive capsulitis, follows a typical time line of three stages, with specific symptoms. It is important to understand what the cause of your pain and restricted mobility is, to determine whether you have frozen shoulder, or another shoulder condition.
Classic frozen shoulder is caused by inflammation, rather than immobility. However, individuals may develop similar symptoms following a period of prolonged immobility or reduced mobility from a previous injury or condition, such as a rotator cuff injury, broken arm, recovery from previous surgery, or stroke.
Although frozen shoulder can be induced by injury, it often begins without any known injury. In fact, the exact cause of frozen shoulder is unknown. The most accepted theory is that adhesions (or Internal Scar Tissue) form in and around the shoulder joint capsule and in the surrounding soft tissues, causing the joint to stiffen up over time.
Some individuals with a pre-existing condition, such as diabetes, hypertension, COPD or history of myocardial infarction, may be predisposed.
However, when impingement syndrome becomes chronic, it can lead to tears in the rotator cuff tendons. And this can eventually lead to frozen shoulder.
Frozen Shoulder (Adhesive Capsulitis) Stages and Symptoms:
Stage 1: Freezing Stage
Frozen shoulder usually begins with moderate to severe pain in the shoulder, with very restricted movement. This stage is very painful and can last from 1 to 3 months. As one progresses through this stage, the pain begins to subside, but the mobility in the shoulder continues to be severely restricted.
Stage 2: Stiffening Stage
The pain is much less than in the freezing stage, however shoulder mobility continues to be severely restricted, particularly with lifting the arm and turning it outward. This stage can last several months, or in some cases, years.
Stage 3: Thawing Stage
The movement in the shoulder starts to improve very slowly. There is very little to no pain during this stage. Most cases of frozen shoulder may resolve on their own within 12-18 months.
However, Cold Laser Therapy can help speed the healing process significantly.