Frozen Shoulder

What is it?  

Frozen Shoulder Syndrome or Adhesive Capsulitis affects around 2-5% of the population, and has been the subject of much debate amongst healthcare professionals. It is now known that Frozen Shoulder is a chronic inflammatory process that causes a contraction in the capsule surrounding the shoulder joint. This capsular contraction is often accompanied with painful and restricted movements. Neurological changes may occur as a result of inflammation, resulting in muscles becoming switched off and changes in muscle dynamics.

Common Causes

Trauma to the area reduces the fluidity within the capsule, resulting in inflammation and stiffness in the capsule surrounding the shoulder joint.

Trauma may result from the following factors: Aging, Posture, Intensive or Repetitive Manual Occupations, Diabetes, Immobilisation, Fracture, or Surgery.

Common Symptoms

Restricted and painful movement of the shoulder, as a result of inflammation and stiffness. Typically this goes through a three stage process, known as pre-freezing, frozen, and thawing. This process can last as long as 30 months if not addressed appropriately.
There may also be a neurological component involved in Frozen Shoulder Syndrome causing an increased susceptibility to feeling pain, and marked muscular wasting.

How can Physiotherapy help?

A physiotherapist can use techniques to increase range of pain free movement of the shoulder which has become frozen.

What to expect during treatment

Mobilisations of the shoulder, soft tissue techniques to relieve tender points, manipulation techniques to increase range of movement, regular stretching of the shoulder joint and advice for home exercises.

What can you do for yourself? 

Seek advice from a physiotherapist and keep the shoulder moving as much as possible to prevent further restriction (freezing).


The Niel-Asher Technique for Frozen Shoulder

The Niel-Asher Technique is a hands-on treatment involving a sequenced series of pressure points and stretching maneuvers. It is performed by trained professionals, and has worked for over 60,000 clients since 1999. Some of it can be painful, while other parts are soothing. This is for a reason – our tissues have receptors in them, and they respond to different stimuli. Some respond to deep touch, others to more superficial stimulation. NAT uses various types of sensory feedback (nerve impulses) to re-program your frozen shoulder. In the early stages this can prevent the stages of frozen shoulder coming into fruition. In later stages the technique will advance you through the stages of Frozen Shoulder, allowing it to “defrost” more quickly and efficiently.

All of our practitioners are trained in the Niel-Asher Technique, and are experienced in the diagnosis and treatment of your shoulder issue.

Evidence Based Practice

At Sheffield Physiotherapy, we always strive to adopt the best clinical evidence into our practice. This ensures that you are receiving the best possible treatment outcomes.

The Niel-Asher Technique is evidence based, and has been clinically tested, along with hundreds of case histories and patient testimonials. Randomised Placebo Controlled Trials have found that NAT produces significant improvements in pain levels, active range of movement, strength and power, when compared to traditional Physiotherapy and a control group.

The following graphs demonstrate some of the improvements you may expect if treated using the Niel-Asher Technique. These improvements were shown after just 6 treatment sessions

The graph above compares the Niel-Asher Technique to standard Physiotherapy and a placebo group. The Niel-Asher technique showed an improvement of 52.6 degrees in range of movement, almost double the improvement found in standard Physiotherapy. Range of movement is important because it allows us to perform activities of daily living with less limitation. Common limitations such as putting a coat on, reaching up to shelves, and driving may improve using the Niel Asher Technique.
The graph above compares the Niel-Asher Technique, Physiotherapy and a placebo group for improving shoulder strength and power. With no intervention (placebo group) strength and power decreased. With Physiotherapy, strength and power was maintained but not gained. With the Niel-Asher Technique strength and power was increased significantly. Strength is important because it allows us to perform daily tasks that require physical exertion, such as, lifting and moving heavy objects, or sustained upper limb use e.g. hairdressing, painting and decorating, or driving.
The graph above compares the Niel-Asher Technique, Physiotherapy and a Placebo group for the reduction of shoulder pain and disability. Physiotherapy and the Placebo group were both effective in reducing pain and disability, and had very similar results. However the Niel-Asher Technique showed a decrease in shoulder pain and disability of almost 50% more than both these groups.


Want to know more?

For more information, call us on 0114 268 6677