Are you Suffering from Frozen Shoulder?

Frozen Shoulder

Frozen Shoulder (Adhesive Capsulitis): Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Frozen shoulder, medically termed adhesive capsulitis, is a debilitating condition characterized by the gradual onset of pain and stiffness in the shoulder joint. This condition affects the capsule surrounding the shoulder joint, leading to inflammation, thickening, and tightening, resulting in restricted movement. Understanding the causes, symptoms, and treatment options for frozen shoulder is essential for effective management.

1. Causes: The precise cause of frozen shoulder is not always clear, but several factors may contribute to its development. Common risk factors include:

  • Age: Frozen shoulder is more prevalent in individuals aged 40 to 60.
  • Gender: Women are more often affected than men.
  • Medical Conditions: Conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and thyroid disorders may increase the risk.
  • Immobility: Prolonged immobilization due to surgery, injury, or other health conditions can contribute.

2. Symptoms: The symptoms of frozen shoulder typically progress through stages:

  • Pain: Gradual onset of pain, often worsening with movement.
  • Stiffness: Increasing difficulty moving the shoulder, leading to reduced range of motion.
  • Frozen Stage: Severe stiffness, limiting both active and passive movement.
  • Thawing Stage: Gradual improvement in mobility, though the process can take months to years.

3. Diagnosis: A healthcare professional can diagnose frozen shoulder based on a physical examination, medical history, and imaging studies such as X-rays or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to rule out other potential causes of shoulder pain.

4. Treatment: The treatment of frozen shoulder aims to alleviate pain, improve shoulder mobility, and restore normal function. Various approaches are employed based on the severity of the condition:

A. Conservative Measures:

  • Pain Management: Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or pain relievers may be prescribed to manage pain and reduce inflammation.
  • Physical Therapy: Stretching and strengthening exercises guided by a physical therapist help improve range of motion and prevent further stiffness.
  • Heat and Ice Application: Applying heat or ice can provide relief from pain and aid in reducing inflammation.

B. Corticosteroid Injections:

  • Intra-Articular Injections: Corticosteroids injected directly into the shoulder joint can help reduce inflammation and alleviate pain.

C. Joint Distension:

  • Fluid Distension: In some cases, the joint is distended with sterile water to stretch the capsule and improve mobility.

D. Home Exercises:

  • Home Exercise Programs: Patients are often given specific exercises to perform at home to maintain and improve shoulder mobility.

E. Manipulation Under Anesthesia (MUA):

  • MUA Procedure: Under anesthesia, a healthcare provider manipulates the shoulder to break up adhesions and improve mobility.

F. Surgical Intervention:

  • Arthroscopic Release: In severe cases, surgery may be considered to release the tightened capsule and improve joint mobility.

G. Rehabilitation and Follow-Up:

  • Rehabilitation: Consistent rehabilitation, including physical therapy and home exercises, is essential for achieving optimal outcomes.
  • Follow-Up Care: Regular follow-up appointments with healthcare providers help monitor progress, adjust treatment plans, and address any complications.

H. Patient Education:

  • Understanding the Condition: Educating patients about the nature of frozen shoulder, expected recovery times, and the importance of adhering to treatment plans is crucial for successful management.

Frozen shoulder can significantly impact an individual’s quality of life due to pain and restricted shoulder mobility. Early intervention, a tailored treatment plan, and patient commitment to rehabilitation are essential components of successful management. While the condition may resolve over time, treatment approaches aim to expedite the recovery process and minimize long-term effects. Individuals experiencing symptoms of frozen shoulder should seek prompt medical attention for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment to address their specific condition and improve overall shoulder function.

Facts about Frozen Shoulder

  1. Frozen Shoulder, also known as adhesive Capsulitis, is a condition characterized by stiffness and pain in your shoulder joint.
  2. Frozen shoulder usually affects on shoulder at a time, however, some individuals can develop frozen shoulder in the opposite shoulder.
  3. The primary means of diagnosing frozen shoulder is a physical examination.
  4. Obtaining an X-ray or ultrasound image of your shoulder joint is a good idea, but not necessary.
  5. Frozen shoulder is a self-limiting condition which lasts between 12-18 months.
  6. Patients seeking care usually recover more quickly, thus it is important to seek treatment earlier rather than later.