Medically referred to as adhesive capsulitis, frozen shoulder limits the range of motion. Swelling, pain and stiffness are some of the most common symptoms of frozen shoulder. The limited range of motion is not only when the patient attempts to move their shoulder but also when the doctor attempts to move the joint. In this article, we will be discussing about the causes, symptoms and treatment for a frozen shoulder:
In this article:
All You Need to Know about Frozen Shoulder
Causes of Frozen Shoulder
One is more prone to joint inflammation if they have a hormonal imbalance, diabetes or a weakened immune system. Also, a long period of inactivity, whether it is due to an injury, illness or surgery can make you more vulnerable to inflammation and adhesions, i.e. bands of stiff tissue. The condition usually takes about two to nine months to develop and will ultimately limit your range of motion.
Symptoms of Frozen Shoulder
The very first symptom that you will notice is the pain, i.e. when it begins to hurt, which will in turn limit the movement. The stiffness will keep on increasing as you move the shoulder less and less over time and at the end, one can finally notice that they can’t move their shoulder the same way as they used to do earlier. When it gets severe, you might even face difficulty in doing basic everyday tasks.
People who are more at Risk for a Frozen Shoulder
The condition is more common among women as compared to men and is likely to occur in the middle ages. In addition to this, if someone is suffering from diabetes, their risk for this condition increases by three times.
Those at risk for Frozen Shoulder
- People with thyroid disorders
- People who continue using shoulder sling for long period of time after a surgery or an injury
- One must remain still for long period due to a stroke or surgery.
Diagnosis of Frozen Shoulder
It is important for you to visit a doctor if you feel any sort of pain or stiffness in your shoulder. A physical exam will be conducted to check your range of motion. Your doctor will observe you when you perform specific movements and will also measure range of motion of the shoulder.
Apart from this, some other few tests may also be taken. magnetic resonance imaging scan (MRI) might be done in order to check for a tear in the rotator cuff or other pathology. Similarly, to check for arthritis and other abnormalities, X-rays may also be conducted. An arthrogram for the X-ray might also be needed, which basically involves the injection of a dye into the shoulder joint so that the structure can be seen by the doctor.
Treatment of Frozen Shoulder
Treatment for a frozen shoulder is not always necessary. However, the pain and stiffness of a frozen shoulder can remain for up to three years. in order to speed up your recovery, you can go for the following:
You can place an ice pack on your shoulder for 15 minutes at a time and repeat this a number of times per day to decrease the pain. In addition to this, you can do a few exercises at home if you are working with a physical therapist and he/she will provide you with instructions on what exercises to do, how often to do them and all the necessary details.
One of the most common treatments for a frozen shoulder is physical therapy. It may take about a few weeks to nine months to see the progress. And in case, you notice no improvements even after six months of daily exercises, make sure you speak to your doctor about the same.
Anti-inflammatory medications like aspirin, ibuprofen or naproxen sodium may be recommended by your doctor to treat the pain and reduce your joint inflammation.
In case you went for a physical therapy and found no improvements, surgery is still an option. Here, you have got to manipulate the shoulder and try to put it through a full range of motion under a general anesthetic so as to help break up any adhesions. Arthroscopic surgery is another option, which involves making a small cut in the shoulder and using an arthroscope to help remove the scar tissue and release it.
You can easily prevent the condition from getting worse if you opt for an early treatment. In case, you are suffering from diabetes, you must ensure to manage it properly so as to reduce your risk for a frozen shoulder.