NCTV Episode 50

Continuing with the series of bitesize health tip videos which can be found here on my YouTube Channel, this episode, includes:-

  • My old cricket team mate and current England batsman Dom Sibley
  • Who gets Frozen Shoulder?
  • How Frozen Shoulder occurs
  • Ten Top Tips
  • The Niel-Asher Technique

Transcript

If you’d prefer to read the content within, rather than watch the video, then feel free to read the transcript, as follows:-

Hello and welcome to NCTV, and we’ve reached the half-century, today is Episode 50! Well done for sticking with me until now if you have been watching these since the beginning. I realise most people probably dip in and out and watch whichever episodes are either of more relevance or interest to them, which is fine but the aim is to create a catalogue of self-help videos which you can refer back to and share with anyone, as and when the need arises.

So what is today about? Well as we move into the 50s (in terms of episodes) I thought it would be quite apt to talk about a condition that predominantly affects people in their 50s. And as the world also celebrated International Women’s Day on Monday of this week, it is also relevant in this sense, because it is more prevalent in women. If you haven’t guessed it already from the title of this episode, I am indeed referring to the dreaded Frozen Shoulder.

Why is it so dreaded? Because people who do get it can be stuck with it for anything up to 5 years if you’re unlucky. More commonly though it would range for between one and a half to three years, which is still a long time to live with pretty excruciating pain and restriction. The good news is though, that it will get better and there are things you can do to help it, which we’ll come on to shortly.

Firstly though, just to tell you a bit more about it. The medical name for frozen shoulder is Adhesive Capsulitis which sounds like a mouthful but when you break it down it’s literally adhesions in the joint capsule of the shoulder and by adhesions that means a certain stickiness that’s brought on by inflammation. This often originates from the biceps tendon after a small injury such as overstretching to reach and lift something in the back seat of a car. The resulting inflammation can then spread to other areas of the shoulder and because there are a lot of interconnected structures within the joint such as muscles, ligaments and bursas, these can also be affected and can become swollen and painful.

So aside for being a woman in your 50s, other risk factors for developing Frozen Shoulder are:-

  • If you have a rounded shoulder posture
  • Participate in shoulder intensive sports
  • Do a repetitive manual job
  • Have diabetes
  • Have experienced a traumatic shoulder injury
  • Or if you’ve immobilised your arm following a fracture or having surgery

To give you on idea of the patterns of incidence, Frozen Shoulder affects about 5% of the population, there’s a 60:40 split between women to men, it usually occurs in the non-dominant arm but 15% of suffers can get it in both, not pleasant.

There are two types of Frozen Shoulder; Primary, which is where this has occurred for no apparent reason but may be linked with medical conditions, posture or your job and Secondary, which is usually associated with a pre-existing condition, either intrinsically via rotator cuff issues or extrinsically through a fracture, surgery or trauma such as falling on an outstretched arm.

Upon developing Frozen Shoulder, there are three main phases. These being Freezing, which lasts 2-8 months, Frozen, lasting 4-12 months and Thawing, which may also be 4-12 months. However, there is also known to be a Pre-phase 1 stage where there are signs and symptoms of impingement occurring which in 50% of cases can then go on to develop into full blown Frozen Shoulder but if caught and treated early enough, this can be avoided.

The Freezing phase is called freezing because that is the stage where the shoulder rapidly stiffens up, you get severe sharp catching of the joint and is also typically characterised by night pain.

In the Frozen stage, night pain starts to reduce but so too does the mobility. Pain also tends to spread from the shoulder to the forearm and hand and there may also be a degree of triceps tendinitis at the back of the arm. Things then pretty much stay as they are in this state for quite some time.

Once in the Thawing phase, mobility will then gradually increase although without treatment this can still last a long time.

So that’s enough information about Frozen shoulder, what everyone wants to know is what can you do about it.

I’ll start with some immediate posture related advice you can apply right away and if I were to give you 10 of the best tips, these would be to:-

  1. Avoid a protective posture, where often people hold themselves in a position with their arm bent and cradled to the body and the shoulder elevated. All that’ll do is contract the biceps which will further exacerbate the problem
  2. Keep the arm straight which will help to separate the shoulder and allow fluid back into the joint
  3. Continue to use it for most activities but avoiding those that cause the sharp catching pain
  4. Relax the shoulder and allow it to swing when walking which will help to increase the blood flow and encourage the healing process
  5. Avoid carrying heavy bags for long as this can strain or tear the supraspinatus muscle of the rotator cuff, adding further complications to your recovery
  6. Take regular breaks when working at a computer and regular means every 30 minutes
  7. Have a good back support and armrest when sitting on a chair
  8. When in bed, the ideal position for your shoulder is to lie on your back with a pillow along your arm and shoulder
  9. Avoid lying with your arms above your head in bed
  10. Be sure to maintain good overall posture

When it comes to treatments, traditionally Frozen shoulder is treated with injections, tablets and surgery. Without boring you on the ins and of them, the other most common treatments are:

  • Physiotherapy
  • Exercise
  • Cortisone Injections
  • Manipulation Under Anaesthetic
  • Suprascapular Nerve Block
  • And a keyhole surgery type technique

However, one of the best treatments I’ve come across and one that works to significantly speed up the rate of recovery is the Niel-Asher Technique which is a hands of treatment technique that I have adopted to use personally and it’s one that I can certainly vouch for having had many years’ experience administering this now. But rather than go into that too much here because I know this video is already quite long, I’ve attached a link → here to a page on my website which will tell you more about it, if you’d like to investigate this further.

So that’s all for now and I’ll see you next time for some more bitesize bits to help your health flourish! Bye bye.