Have you ever had a shoulder joint that’s painful and restricted? The chances are you probably thought it was a ‘frozen shoulder’ – and the chances are you were probably wrong!
As with some of the previous terms we’ve discussed, such as sciatica and migraines, the problem lies in part with the difference between what you might mean by ‘frozen shoulder’ (it hurts and I can’t move it properly) and what a musculoskeletal specialist means by ‘frozen shoulder’ (very specifically, adhesive capsulitis) … and differentiating between the two is very important as they can have very different treatments and outcomes.
The shoulder is the most complicated joint in the body – in fact, it’s not one joint at all, it’s three joints plus the articulation between the shoulder blade and the top seven ribs. If it’s going to work properly, there are over 100 joints, muscles, ligaments and bursae that have to we working normally and integrate smoothly. Fortunately, of all the things that can go wrong, frozen shoulder (or adhesive capsulitis as we should call it from now on) is one of the less common.