Frozen Shoulder: Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatment
Frozen shoulder, also known as adhesive capsulitis or periarthritis shoulder, is a condition that causes pain and stiffness in the shoulder joint. It usually affects adults between the ages of 40 and 60, and it affects women more frequently than it does males. The condition can be quite debilitating, limiting range of motion and interfering with everyday activities like dressing, reaching, and carrying objects.
In this article, we'll take a closer look at frozen shoulder, including its symptoms, causes, and diagnosis. We'll also explore the various treatment options available for the condition, with a focus on frozen shoulder physiotherapy.
Symptoms of Frozen Shoulder
The main symptom of frozen shoulder is pain and stiffness in the shoulder joint. This can make it difficult to move the shoulder and perform everyday activities. The pain may be a dull ache or a sharp, stabbing sensation, and may be more severe at night.
Frozen shoulder typically develops slowly, over a period of weeks or months. The condition is characterised by three stages:
Freezing stage: This is the first stage of frozen shoulder, during which pain and stiffness gradually increase. The shoulder may become very stiff and difficult to move.
Frozen stage: During the second stage, pain may lessen, but the shoulder remains very stiff and difficult to move.
Thawing stage: In the third stage, stiffness gradually decreases, and range of motion gradually improves.
The complete process of resolving frozen shoulder can take up to two years, while the exact timing varies from person to person.
Causes of Frozen Shoulder
Although the specific aetiology of frozen shoulder is unknown, various variables may contribute to its development. These include:
Injury: A shoulder injury, such as a rotator cuff tear or a broken arm, can increase the risk of developing a frozendeveloping frozen shoulder.
Surgery: Surgeries that involve the shoulder, such as shoulder surgery or breast cancer surgery, can increase the risk of developing frozen shoulder.
Medical conditions: Diabetes, thyroid disorders, and heart disease all raise the chance of experiencing frozen shoulder.
Immobility: Prolonged immobility of the shoulder, such as due to a sling or cast, can increase the risk of developing frozen shoulder.
Diagnosis of Frozen Shoulder
Diagnosing frozen shoulder typically involves a physical exam and imaging tests. A doctor will check range of motion, strength, and pain in the shoulder during the physical exam. Imaging studies, such as X-rays or MRI scans, may be done to rule out alternative causes of the symptoms if needed.
Treatment Options for Frozen Shoulder
The treatment options for frozen shoulder include physical therapy, medication, and surgery. A combination of one or more treatments may be utilised to address the illness in many circumstances
Physiotherapy for Frozen Shoulder
Physiotherapy is often used to treat frozen shoulder, as it can help improve range of motion and reduce pain. Physiotherapy may involve a variety of exercises, such as stretching and strengthening exercises, to help loosen the shoulder and improve mobility.
One common type of exercise used in frozen shoulder physiotherapy is called the Codman exercise. This exercise involves gently swinging the affected arm back and forth while leaning forward at the waist. This helps loosen the shoulder and improve range of motion.
Another exercise that may be used in frozen shoulder physiotherapy is called the pendulum exercise. This exercise involves bending forward at the waist and letting the affected arm hang down. Then, the arm is gently swung back and forth, side to side, and in circles to loosen up the shoulder joint.
In addition to exercises, other physiotherapy techniques that may be used to treat frozen shoulder include massage, heat or cold therapy, and electrical stimulation.
Medication for Frozen Shoulder
For mild to moderate pain,over-the-counter painkillers like acetaminophen or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines(NSAIDs)like ibuprofen may be used or consumed.
If pain is more severe, a doctor may prescribe stronger pain medications or corticosteroid injections. These injections are given directly into the shoulder joint to reduce pain and inflammation. The tendons may become weaker or the danger of infection may be enhanced as a side effect.
Surgery for Frozen Shoulder
In some cases, surgery may be necessary to treat frozen shoulder. The two most common surgical procedures used to treat frozen shoulder are arthroscopic release and manipulation under anaesthesia.
Arthroscopic release involves inserting a small camera and surgical instruments into the shoulder joint through small incisions. The surgeon then cuts through the tight tissue to release the shoulder joint and improve range of motion.
Manipulation under anaesthesia involves putting the patient under anaesthesia and then forcibly moving the arm to break up the scar tissue and improve mobility. This is typically done in combination with arthroscopic release to achieve the best possible results.
Recovery and Rehabilitation for Frozen Shoulder
Recovery from frozen shoulder can be a slow process, often taking several months to a year or more. However, with the right treatment and ongoing rehabilitation, most people are able to regain full range of motion and function in the affected shoulder.
After surgery or other treatments, physiotherapy is often recommended to help strengthen the shoulder and improve mobility. This may involve a combination of exercises, massage, and other techniques to help loosen up the shoulder joint and improve function.
It is vital to know that there is a chance of frozen shoulder recurrence even after healing.
Maintaining excellent shoulder health by exercising frequently, keeping good posture, and avoiding shoulder injuries will help prevent recurrence.
Frozen shoulder, also known as adhesive capsulitis or periarthritis shoulder, is a condition that causes pain and stiffness in the shoulder joint. It can be quite debilitating, limiting range of motion and interfering with everyday activities.
Treatment options for frozen shoulder include physical therapy, medication, and surgery. Physical therapy, in particular, is frequently utilised to enhance range of motion and alleviate discomfort.
If you have symptoms of a frozen shoulder, it is critical that you get medical assistance as soon as possible in order to receive an accurate diagnosis and suitable treatment. With the right treatment and ongoing rehabilitation, most people are able to recover from frozen shoulder and regain full function in the affected shoulder.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) for Frozen Shoulder
Q: What exactly is frozen shoulder?
A: Frozen shoulder, commonly known as adhesive capsulitis, is a painful condition in which shoulder movement is restricted.
Frozen shoulder develops when the strong connective tissue surrounding the shoulder joint (known as the shoulder joint capsule) thickens, stiffens, and becomes inflammatory. (The ligaments that bind the top of the upper arm bone [humeral head] to the shoulder socket [glenoid], firmly holding the joint in place, are contained within the joint capsule. This is more usually referred to as a "ball and socket" joint.)
The ailment is known as "frozen shoulder" because the more pain experienced, the less likely the shoulder will be used. Inactivity causes the shoulder capsule to thicken and tighten, making movement of the shoulder even more difficult.
Q: What are the symptoms of frozen shoulder?
A: The main symptoms of frozen shoulder are pain and stiffness in the shoulder joint. The pain may be dull or sharp, and it may be worse at night. The stiffness may make it difficult to lift the arm or reach behind the back.
Q: Who is at risk for frozen shoulder?
A: Frozen shoulder is most common in people between the ages of 40 and 60, and it tends to affect more women than men. Individuals with diabetes, thyroid issues, or a history of shoulder injuries or operations are at a higher risk as well.
Q: How is frozen shoulder diagnosed?
A: To diagnose a frozen shoulder, a doctor will typically perform a physical exam and ask about the patient's symptoms and medical history. Imaging tests, such as X-rays or MRI, may also be used to rule out other conditions that may be causing the symptoms.
Q: What is the treatment for frozen shoulder?
A: Treatment for frozen shoulder typically involves a combination of physiotherapy, medication, and sometimes surgery. Physiotherapy, including exercises and stretching, is often used to improve range of motion and reduce pain.To control pain,one other alternative is over-the-counter or prescription pain medications can also be used. In some cases, corticosteroid injections or surgery may be necessary to improve mobility.
Q: How long does it take to recover from a frozen shoulder?
A: Recovery from frozen shoulder can be a slow process, often taking several months to a year or more. However, with the right treatment and ongoing rehabilitation, most people are able to regain full range of motion and function in the affected shoulder.
Q: Can frozen shoulder be prevented?
A: While it may not be possible to completely prevent frozen shoulder, maintaining good shoulder health by exercising regularly, maintaining good posture, and avoiding shoulder injuries can help reduce the risk of developing the condition. To assist lower your risk of acquiring a frozen shoulder, it's crucial to carefully manage any conditions you may have, such as diabetes or thyroid issues.
Learn more about Rotator cuff injury