Frozen Shoulder is also known as adhesive capsulitis. It is a condition that affects your shoulder joints and limits your range of motion. It occurs when the tissues present in the shoulder joint become tighter, thicker, and scar tissues develop in your shoulder over time. This condition is known as Frozen Shoulder because your shoulder joint does not have enough space to move normally. You can feel pain and stiffness due to a frozen shoulder, and it mostly occurs between the ages of 40 and 60.
The frozen shoulder gradually develops in three stages, and each stage has its own symptoms.
In the freezing stage, you start feeling pain in your shoulder, and the severity of the pain increases slowly. With the increase in the pain, your shoulder’s movement is limited, and you start feeling difficulty in daily movements.
At this stage, the pain may start to decrease, but the stiffness remains the same, and it becomes very difficult to perform daily activities.
At this stage, your shoulder’s movement may start getting back to normal, but it is a very slow process and can take 6 months to 2 years until the movement of your shoulder becomes normal.
The causes of frozen shoulder are not fully known till now. Some factors may put you at risk of developing a frozen shoulder.
Frozen shoulder develops commonly in people with diabetes. The reason for this is still unknown, but diabetic people feel more stiffness and pain as compared to normal people.
Some medical diseases like hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, Parkinson’s disease, and cardiac diseases may increase your chances of developing a frozen shoulder.
If you haven’t moved your shoulder for a long time period due to an injury, surgery, or any other reason, then you are at risk of developing a frozen shoulder. Even doctors suggest moving your shoulders after surgery to avoid frozen shoulders.
If you are having stiffness and pain in your shoulder, then it is better to visit your doctor. A doctor may perform a series of physical exams to assess the range of motion of your shoulder. He may ask you to do some specific movements with your shoulder so that he can check the range of motion at different points.
Based on the symptoms and physical assessment, your doctor may request imaging tests like X-rays and MRI to rule out a tear in your rotator cuff and check for arthritis or other abnormalities. Rarely, an arthrogram may be reqiested where die is injected into your shoulder joint so that the doctor can see the structure of your shoulder.
If a frozen shoulder is left untreated, one may not face any serious consequences, but the pain and stiffness may remain for up to three years. So there are some treatment options available for a speedy recovery like:
Physical therapy is one of the most common and most effective treatments for a frozen shoulder. With physical therapy, the main aim is to stretch your shoulder joint and regain the lost motion. It can take from a few weeks to 9 months with physical therapy till you see a clear result. You can take help from a physiotherapist and ask him to develop a home exercise program for you to improve the movements of your shoulder. If there is no improvement in your shoulder after six months of physical therapy, then consult your doctor and go for other available options.
Your doctor may suggest taking NSAIDs like aspirin, ibuprofen, or naproxen sodium to get rid of pain and inflammation. A steroid injection can also be used to improve your shoulder’s movement, but its results may be temporary.
You can apply different methods at home to take care of your frozen shoulder. Take an ice-pack and place it on your shoulder for 15 minutes. Repeat this activity several times a day as it will help you to reduce pain and stiffness. You can do relaxing exercises at your home to reduce the stiffness and get rid of the frozen shoulder symptoms.
In most cases, people having a frozen shoulder can get better without any surgery. But if the non-surgical methods do not work for you, then surgery is an option. The aim of the surgery is to break the adhesion in your shoulder and improve its range of motion. Your doctor will do a detailed analysis of your symptoms, and on the basis of the severity, he will decide which type of surgery will be performed.
In most cases, arthroscopic surgery is used in which a small cut is made in your shoulder, and a camera known as an arthroscope is inserted in your shoulder. By using this method, scar tissues are removed from your shoulder, which allows your shoulder to recover its motion. After surgery, it can take a few weeks or months to completely recover your shoulder motion.
This is everything you need to know about a frozen shoulder. If you still have doubts or require clarification, then please contact Dr. Gowreeson Thevendran or visit www.orthofootMD.com.