A common condition we often see at our Tunbridge Wells Chiropractic clinic is frozen shoulder. It’s something many have heard of but few people actually understand unless they have suffered from it.
Frozen shoulder means having limited movement in the shoulder area, generally accompanied by pain and stiffness. It can last for long periods of time, even for several years.
Fortunately, it’s a problem where an experienced chiropractor can provide effective treatment to help promote recovery. At our clinic, we use a variety of methods to alleviate pain and improve mobility, including new and exciting solutions such as shockwave therapy.
What is a Frozen Shoulder?
Stiffness and pain in the shoulder will obviously be very discomforting but should normally disappear in just a few days in most cases. If it persists for a much longer time, you may well have a condition known as frozen shoulder. This can last for several months or even years without effective treatment.
Frozen shoulder is also known as ‘contracted shoulder’ as well as it’s medical name adhesive capsulitis. The symptoms include an aching pain around the shoulder area and difficulty moving the joint to give yourself the usual full range of movement. The severity of these symptoms can vary but it will most probably hamper you in everyday tasks such as driving or even getting dressed. Getting a good night’s sleep because of the discomfort is also a major issue for sufferers.
There are three main stages in the development of a frozen shoulder:
- The first is normally called the ‘freezing’ stage. It’s where the pain first appears and the mobility of the shoulder starts to become reduced. The area will become stiffer over time and the pain might be quite difficult to cope with on occasion. This can take place over a period of months.
- The ‘frozen’ phase is basically where it’s got as bad as it’s going to get and levels off. The pain may well subside a little but moving your shoulder will be difficult. This stage can last up to a year.
- Finally, there’s the ‘thawing’ phase where the movement gradually begins to return and the pain subsides. This can actually take several years until you are totally free of pain and have reasonably full movement for your shoulder joint.
- Back Pain
- Arthritis & Osteoarthritis
- Neck Pain
- Sporting Injuries
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Foot Pain
According to Bupa, about 3% of the population will suffer from a frozen shoulder at some point in their life and it seems to affect those between 40 and 60 more. People with certain conditions such as diabetes are also more susceptible to conditions like this and getting better can take a little bit longer than normal for these patients.
What Causes a Frozen Shoulder?
It’s often difficult to pinpoint the exact cause of a frozen shoulder but what it does mean is that the tissue surrounding your shoulder joint becomes inflamed. This tissue then becomes scarred and thickens which makes it tighter in the joint. This, in turn, makes it difficult to move the shoulder and causes pain.
Frozen shoulder often occurs following an injury or if you’ve had surgery in that particular area. Medical conditions such as diabetes, lung disease, heart disease or an over-active thyroid can make the condition more likely. If you are taking certain medication this can also lead to problems with your shoulder joint.
How Can a Chiropractor Help with Your Frozen Shoulder?
At our chiropractic clinic in Tunbridge Wells, patients either come to us directly or are referred by a GP or other healthcare service. The first thing we’ll do at the clinic is carry out a proper investigation and do a full diagnosis of your condition. This will include checking how much movement you have in your shoulder and deciding if chiropractic is a suitable treatment for your condition.
Treatment may well involve gentle manipulation of the shoulder and the joint as well as giving you certain exercises to carry out at home. We also offer shockwave therapy on frozen shoulder injuries which has been proven to be a safe and effective treatment.
What is Shockwave?
Shockwave therapy is used a lot in treating soft tissue damage and basically involves passing a soundwave through your body. It is a safe and non-invasive way of treating a range of injuries and works by stimulating blood flow and enabling the body to essentially heal itself quicker.
At our clinic in Tunbridge Wells, we not only use it now as therapeutic tool for frozen shoulder but also conditions such as tennis elbow and calcific tendonitis. In many cases, we find that patients recover a lot quicker than through normal manipulation.
Research carried out in the US recently, investigated the impact of using shockwave therapy on patients with frozen shoulder. 106 patients were chosen with some receiving the shockwave treatment while others didn’t. All subjects were also given gentle exercises to carry out at home to improve the movement of their shoulders. The patients who had shockwave treatment showed significantly better improvement than those who didn’t over the same period of time.
The benefit of shockwave therapy is that it is not invasive and involves no medication. The risk is minimal though there sometimes can be a little bruising to the area being treated. We often see a clinical benefit over a period of 6 to 8 weeks.
Visiting Tunbridge Wells Chiropractic
We treat a wide range of conditions at our chiropractic clinic and have experience in delivering a number of different treatments and therapies. Frozen shoulders are not uncommon and we see many patients each year with this condition. We understand how debilitating it can be and why finding pain relief and a suitable treatment is important.
When you first arrive at our chiropractic clinic in Tunbridge Wells, you will be give a full consultation which will include learning about your medical history and giving you a full examination. You will only be given a treatment if we feel it is appropriate for your condition.
That treatment may include using gentle manipulation techniques to improve your range of movement and ease any pain you are suffering from. It could also involve shockwave therapy to encourage the tissue around your joint to heal quicker.
Other Conditions We Treat