What is Frozen Shoulder?
Frozen Shoulder Syndrome (FSS) is among the most severe, painful and debilitating shoulder conditions. It is fairly common and rarely the result of an underlying illness or pathology. Frozen Shoulder affects as many as 2-5% of the population.
Experts define frozen shoulder as "a stiff shoulder with less than 50% of normal range of active and passive motion in any direction". Although it is fairly common, one of the main problems is that frozen shoulder is many times misdiagnosed.
If you are suffering from frozen shoulder, you are probably having difficulties lifting your shoulder - it might be completely stiff and locked.
What are the Symptoms of Frozen Shoulder?
The symptoms of frozen shoulder will vary depending on the phase that you are in.
Phase I of frozen shoulder is characterised by sharp catching spasms that may come suddenly for no reason at all. Another characteristic is night pain that may even wake you up at night, disturbing your sleep and affecting your energy levels.
During Phase II, the night pain usually goes away. In all phases of frozen shoulder, you will experience restricted shoulder and arm movement. The stiffness can be severe, especially with certain movements such as reaching behind your back or above your head. Unfortunately, this can make the simplest of tasks difficult, like brushing your hair.
The stiffness will last through all three phases of frozen shoulder syndrome; however, it usually begins during phase II.
Who is Prone to Frozen Shoulder?
Frozen shoulder affects slightly more females than males typically between 40 and 60 years of age. The non-dominant arm (i.e. left arm in most people) is more likely to be involved, although about 12% of people are affected on both sides (bilaterally).
Frozen shoulder syndrome is much more common in diabetics, affecting between 10 and 20%. It lasts for an average of 30 months, although one recently published study showed that up to 60% of people still had some symptoms after 10 years.
TRIGGER POINT SELF HELP TECHNIQUE
This technique involves locating the heart of the trigger/tender point. When this is compressed it may well trigger a specific referred pain map (preferably reproducing your symptoms). This technique involves applying direct, gentle and sustained pressure to the point:
1. Identify the tender/trigger point you wish to work on (as shown in the illustration below)
2. Place the host muscle in a comfortable position, where it is relaxed and can undergo full stretch.
3. Apply gentle, gradually increasing pressure to the tender point until you feel resistance. This should be experienced as discomfort and not as pain.
4. Apply sustained pressure until you feel the tender point yield and soften. This can take from a few seconds to several minutes.
5. Steps 3-4 can be repeated, gradually increasing the pressure on the tender/trigger point until it has fully yielded.
6. To achieve a better result, you can try to change the direction of pressure during these repetitions.
TRIGGER POINT SELF HELP - ADVICE
There are many reasons why you might have trigger points, so it is important to consider your trigger point pain in the context of the rest of your body. It must be stressed that the techniques offered on this page are not a substitute for therapy from a qualified practitioner; although aches and pains from trigger points are common, there can sometimes be an underlying pathology. It is advisable to always seek a proper diagnosis from a qualified medical practitioner or experienced manual therapist.
Stretching is an important part of the rehabilitation process and should begin as soon as pain allows and be continued throughout the rehabilitation program and beyond - Good maintenance prevents re-injury.
- Stand with your arm extended to the rear and parallel to the ground.
- Hold on to an immovable object and then turn your shoulders and body away from your outstretched arm.