Physical Therapy: The Number One Treatment Option For A Frozen Shoulder

Person suffering from frozen shoulder

It’s a common story for many people – athletes, the physically active, those in their prime years: You have a nagging pain that just won’t go away. The pain worsens so you finally seek treatment. You try acupuncture, chiropractor, and massage therapy. Then, after visiting the doctor, you’re trying medications like steroid injections. Finally, after only temporary relief before the pain returns, you turn to prescription pain medications, thinking that there’s just no alternative except maybe surgery. Minus the pain medications and surgery, this is exactly what OSR Physical Therapy patient Janice Anastasi went through for over a year for her frozen shoulder before finally ending up in physical therapy.

It was a long road to physical therapy – full of treatments like hydroplasty and steroid injections. However, nothing seemed to solve the pain she was having in her arm due to her frozen shoulder. The pain got so bad, recounts Anastasi, that she couldn’t even sleep.

“It was always a nagging pain in my upper left arm, but if I stretched or tried to reach for something it was just so painful,” said Anastasi. “It got so bad that I couldn’t even sleep and the only way I could get comfortable was if I hung my arm off the side of the bed, which was uncomfortable.”

Finally, after realizing that she shouldn’t have to tolerate the pain, she headed to physical therapy upon the recommendation of a specialist.

“I was just so limited with what I could do,” she said. “I just remember thinking, ‘Ok, I’m 57, I shouldn’t be this limited with what I can do.’ So, I went to a specialist who then referred me to OSR.”

Anastasi was in physical therapy for about six months for her frozen shoulder. However, according to her, it was well worth it.

Other Treatments Merely Masked The Pain

Many times, people in pain seek alternative forms of treatment or traditional medicinal treatments to solve their pain. Because physical therapy is still associated with the sports world, and injury and surgery rehab, many people forgo it as part of their pain solution. However, physical therapy is increasingly becoming popular and successful at solving pain problems, not just masking it. The CDC even recommends physical therapy over pain medication and surgery in most cases.

For Anastasi, she wishes she would’ve tried physical therapy at OSR right at the beginning of her pain.

“I got multiple treatments that would ease the pain or mask it before going to physical therapy. But the pain just never went away,” she said. “We tried hydroplasty – which was so painful I passed out. I did steroid injections, manipulations, acupuncture, massage therapy – you name it.”

Finally, a specialist recommended physical therapy as a solution, and indeed it was the solution for Anastasi that she was looking for.

“Because I’ve had the injections before and other forms of therapy and treatment, I know that it was physical therapy and OSR, in particular, that made the difference,” the 57-year-old stated. “With any other place I went, they would manipulate my shoulder and arm for a bit and give me an injection, but we never worked on it or worked on really solving the issue.”

‘Physical Therapy Fixed My Frozen Shoulder’

Anastasi had never thought of going to physical therapy before simply because she didn’t consider herself injured. She was in pain and had limited movement, but she thought it was just from usage and age – nothing she thought physical therapy would help. However, after just her first few sessions, she could notice a difference.

Her range of motion in her shoulder increased dramatically with each exercise and session. She was able to sleep comfortably, which, she said, was the biggest motivating factor. More importantly, the sharp pains during movement stopped and the nagging ache grew less with each session. Finally, she was solving her problem.

“OSR gave me heating pads and cooling. We worked my shoulder and arms and now the pain is completely gone,” she said. “It was a combination of the heating and the exercises that they made sure I was doing correctly. It made all the difference in the world. I can move in any direction now. I can sleep and move now.”