Capsulitis in the shoulder: causes and treatment
Dernière mise à jour : 2 févr. 2021
Do you know about adhesive capsulitis in the shoulder (frozen shoulder)? Perhaps you know a loved one who has had this condition? Or yourself?
A little anatomy!
The joint capsule is a membrane that surrounds certain joints. When there is inflammation in the capsule, it is called capsulitis. In the early stages, the inflammation is very intense and limiting, making all movement of the shoulder very difficult and painful. Then it gradually retracts and the shoulder becomes more and more stiff. Patients with capsulitis will complain of intense pain and stiffness when lifting the arms, putting their hands on the lower back, washing their hair, getting dressed, tying up in the car, etc. .
Capsulitis is therefore a progressive and painful condition in the shoulder. It is characterized by a loss of range of motion in the shoulder. During capsulitis, shoulder movements are very stiff, especially external and internal rotations (inability to put the hand in the lower back for example) and abduction (raising the arm to the side like doing a angel in the snow).
Maybe you are wondering why I wrote an article about this shoulder pain. In fact, it is a very common condition, even in athletes !! During this time of confinement and a sedentary lifestyle, I frequently treat patients with capsulitis in the shoulder.
What are the causes?
Adhesive capsulitis is idiopathic, that is, without a known cause. However, science manages to associate certain factors. Adhesive capsulitis is thought to be due to a reaction of the body following trauma to the shoulder, surgery, significant psychological stress, immobilization, the presence of certain metabolic diseases such as diabetes and certain neurological conditions. It affects people over 40 more. Finally, women are more often affected than men.
Interesting fact: people with diabetes are 5 times more likely to develop capsulitis than non-diabetics. A person who has had capsulitis on one shoulder is more likely to develop capsulitis on the other shoulder! This condition must be well managed to avoid chronicity and recurrence.
How to treat it?
Capsulitis of the shoulder is a condition that generally responds very well to the physiotherapy approach, assisted by manual orthopedic therapy. We suggest that you consult us as soon as possible.
In collaboration with the doctor and the radiologist, your manual physiotherapist offers you the following protocol (adapted to your condition and your goals):
1. Quick care in physiotherapy (2 to 3 visits per week)
- treatment in the shoulder, neck, back, scapula, etc: The upper back area can be worked to gain movement and reduce pain.
- Mobility exercises (relaxation) of the shoulder (see in detail below)
- Strengthening, endurance, stability exercises
- Postural rehabilitation
- Education of the condition (people must understand their problem!)
- Others: taping, electrotherapy (pain reduction), etc.
2. Prescription of exercises
The physiotherapist will teach you exercises to do every day. The most diligent patients have a better chance of recovering quickly!
I invite you to come and see me for a quick and efficient treatment, while respecting pain, in my medical center in Woluwé-Saint-Lambert, Avenue Marcel Thiry 20.
Vincent De Paepe
Orthopedic manual therapist
Wolu20 medical center