What is Frozen Shoulder? (Adhesive Capsulitis)
Frozen Shoulder Syndrome (FSS) is a painful and debilitating condition. It is a clinical diagnosis and is only very rarely the result of an underlying illness or pathology. Frozen Shoulder is actually fairly common, affecting as many as 2-5% of the population. Frozen shoulder is somewhat of a medical enigma, for example, once it is cured it (almost) never comes back again on the same side. One of the main problems is that frozen shoulder syndrome is often misdiagnosed, To keep things simple most experts define it as a “a stiff shoulder with less than 50% of normal range of active and passive motion in any direction”. The important point here is that you can’t lift the shoulder and neither can anyone else lift it for you – it is completely stiff and locked. Other conditions can cause the shoulder to stiffen but typically, only in certain directions of movement.
What does it feel like?
This depends on what phase you are in. The initial phase of Frozen Shoulder is characterized by an exquisite sharp catching spasm sometimes for no reason at all. Another characteristic of the early phase is night pain. The shoulder can ache and wake you up at night, disturbing your sleep (and your partners) and depleting your energy. You know you are in phase II when your night pain has gone away. Another key feature of all phases of a frozen shoulder is the loss of shoulder and arm movement. The stiffness can be very severe, especially when reaching behind your back or above your head. This can make the simplest of tasks, like brushing your hair, agonizingly difficult. Stiffness lasts through all three phases of frozen shoulder syndrome but starts to ease from phase II onwards.