You spent months agonizing in pain and researching the “frozen shoulder” diagnosis (and had the chance to read the previous blog on what a frozen shoulder is here). You are now more confused than ever.
Not confused about the diagnosis because your Doctor, Doctor Google, and cousin Karen are all in agreement that you have frozen shoulder. Now there is confusion on how to treat a frozen shoulder.
What Interventions Are Available To Treat Frozen Shoulder?
Physical Therapy: exercise, hands-on treatment, education, etc.
Injection Therapy: subacromial steroid injection, intra-articular steroid injection, hydrodilation
Surgery: capsular release, manipulation under anesthesia
Without even reading any further, I am sure you are aware that a physical therapist is going to be heavily biased for physical therapy. And, you would be correct. Conservative management should always be the first option when treating any disorder.
In fact, I would even go as far as saying surgery for adhesive capsulitis should be the last resort. It should be for someone who has failed all other conservative management attempts.
But, did you know that not all physical therapy is the same when it comes to treating frozen shoulder?
It seems physical therapists in this day and age have so many different “tools in the tool belt.” It makes it so not everyone treats their patients the same or even similar.
It is comical how physical therapy is starting to lose the “physical” portion when treating a chronic disorder such as frozen shoulder.
The number one intervention for treating frozen shoulder is EXERCISE!
I am not saying passive treatments such as massage on the shoulder or joint mobilizations aren’t beneficial. The passive treatments can have benefit depending on how and why they are used. But, a lot of physical therapists are forgetting the main ingredient for physical therapy.
What about injections?
Frozen shoulder is a chronic condition that can greatly affect a person’s quality of life. It doesn’t typically resolve in a set time period. We must do anything we can to help alleviate the symptoms. Injections coupled with exercise therapy seems to have good evidence currently.
Moral of the story, if you have frozen shoulder you NEED TO EXERCISE! If pain continues to limit your daily activities, an injection with an exercise program could be of benefit.
If you feel like you need assistance with creating a treatment plan for your frozen shoulder, please feel free to schedule an evaluation with one of our shoulder specialists here.