Understanding Frozen Shoulder

Frozen shoulder, also identified as adhesive capsulitis, is an infirmity distinguished by stiffness and pain in your shoulder joint. Symptoms and signs generally start slowly, deteriorate over time and then improve, usually within one to three years.

You are in jeopardy of forming frozen shoulder raises if you’re healing from a medical procedure or condition that prohibits you from moving your arms around— such as a mastectomy or stroke.

Treatment for frozen shoulder involves range-of-motion activities and, occasionally, numbing medications and corticosteroids injected into the joint capsule. In a small portion of cases, arthroscopic surgery can be designated to loosen the joint capsule so that it can move more freely.

It’s uncommon for a frozen shoulder to recur in the same joint, but some individuals can form it in the opposite shoulder.

Symptoms
Frozen shoulder typically progresses slowly, and in three steps. Each stage can remain active for several months.

Freezing stage. Any motion from your shoulder triggers pain, and your shoulder’s range of motion starts to become restricted. The Frozen stage. Pain may begin to decline or subside through this stage. Nevertheless, your shoulder grows stiffer, and utilizing, exercising it gets more difficult.
Thawing stage. The extent and range of motion in your shoulder start to become better.
For some individuals, the pain subsides at night, occasionally disturbing sleep.

Causes
The bones, tendons, and ligaments that comprise your shoulder joint are covered in a capsule of connected and linked tissue. Frozen shoulder transpires when this capsule expands and contracts around the shoulder joint, restricting its movement.

Physicians aren’t sure why this happens to some individuals, though it’s more likely to transpire in people who have diabetes or those who previously had to immobilize their shoulder for an extended period, such as after procedure or an arm fracture.

Risk factors
Particular factors may heighten your risk of forming a frozen shoulder.

Age and sex
People 40 and older, particularly women, are more likely to have frozen shoulder.

Reduced mobility or Immobility
People who’ve had prolonged reduced mobility or immobility of the shoulder are at greater risk of forming a frozen shoulder. Immobility can be the result of many factors, including:

Stroke
Rotator cuff injury
Broken Arm
Systemic diseases
Recovery from surgery
People who have particular diseases seem more likely to develop frozen shoulder. Diseases that might grow risk include:

Diabetes
Tuberculosis
Parkinson’s disease
Underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism)
Cardiovascular disease
Underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism)

Prevention
One of the most common triggers of frozen shoulder is the reduced mobility that may occur during rehabilitation from shoulder damage, injured arm or a stroke. If you’ve had an injury that causes difficult when moving your shoulder, discuss with your doctor concerning exercises you can do to keep the range of motion in your shoulder joint.

DiagnosisDuring the physical exam, your physician may inquire if you can move in particular ways to evaluate pain and asses your range of motion (active range of motion). Your physician may then suggest that you relax your muscles while he or she moves your arm (passive range of motion). Frozen shoulder impact both passive and active range of motion.

In some instances, your physician may inject your shoulder with numbing medicine (anesthetic) to ascertain your passive and active range of motion.

Frozen shoulder can usually be diagnosed from symptoms and signs alone. But your physician may suggest imaging tests — such as X-rays or an MRI — to rule out other problems.

Treatment
Illustration showing shoulder exercises
Shoulder exercises
Most frozen shoulder treatment involves managing shoulder pain and protecting as much movement and flexibility in the shoulder as possible.

Medications
Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others) and aspirin can assist in decreasing pain and swelling linked with frozen shoulder. In some instances, your doctor may prescribe stronger pain-relieving and anti-swelling or anti-inflammatory medications.

TherapyA physical therapist can educate you on range-of-motion activities to help regain as much movement in your shoulder as possible. Your dedication to doing these activities or workouts is imperative to improve recovery of your mobility.

Surgical Procedures
Most frozen shoulders improve on their own between 12 to 18 months. For consistent symptoms, your physician may recommend:

Steroid injections. Inserting corticosteroids dosages into your shoulder joint may further decrease pain and increase shoulder mobility, particularly in the early stages of the process.
Joint distension – Injecting sterile water into the joint capsule can help pull the tissue and make it easier to move the joint.
Shoulder manipulation. In this procedure, you undergo a general anesthetic, so you’ll be unconscious and feel no discomfort. Then the physician moves your shoulder joint in different directions, to help loosen the tightened tissue.
Surgery. Surgery for frozen shoulder is uncommon, but if nothing else has helped, your doctor may suggest a surgical procedure to remove scar tissue and adhesions from inside your shoulder joint. Physicians usually perform this surgery with lighted, tubular instruments inserted through small incisions around your joint (arthroscopically).

Lifestyle and home remedies
Continue to use the injured shoulder and limb as much as possible based on your range-of-motion limits and pain levels. Applying cold or heat to your shoulder can help reduce pain.

Alternative medicine
Acupuncture
Acupuncture involves entering extremely slender needles in your skin at distinct points on your body. Generally, the needles stay in place for 15 to 40 minutes. During that time they may be relocated or shaped. Because the needles are hair thin and flexible and are generally inserted superficially, most acupuncture treatments are relatively painless.

Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS)
A TENS unit gives a tiny electrical current to key points on a nerve pathway. The current, sent through electrodes taped to your skin, isn’t painful or harmful. It’s not known precisely how TENS works, but it’s believed that it might stimulate the release of pain-inhibiting molecules (endorphins) or block pain fibers that carry pain impulses.

Getting for your appointment
While you might first discuss with your family physician, she or he may refer you to a physician who focuses on orthopedic medicine.

What you can do>
Before your doctor’s appointment, you may want to write down:

Detailed specifications of your symptoms
Information about medical issues you’ve had in the past
Information about the medical problems of your siblings or parents
All the medications and dietary supplements you consume and take
Questions to ask the physician

What to expect from your physician
Your physician may ask some of the following questions:

Are there activities that worsen your symptoms?
When did your symptoms begin?
Have you ever damaged that shoulder? If so, how?
Have you had any recent procedures or periods of diminished shoulder motion?
Do you have diabetes?

Health Life Media Team