What is a frozen shoulder?
A frozen shoulder is characterized by an inability to move the shoulder. Also called adhesive capsulitis, this condition causes shoulder pain. It results from the growth of tissue between the shoulder joint, which makes normal functions of the joint impossible. Synovial fluid decreases and makes the shoulder stiff because the space in between is not lubricated as expected.
Frozen Shoulder Symptoms
Shoulder pain is one of the common symptoms of this condition. When you attempt to move or raise the arm, the pain is unbearable. The stiffness and pain make it hard for you to get a good night’s sleep.
In some cases, the discomfort may not interfere with daily activities. The problem worsens with time as it moves from a freezing stage to a thawing stage. In essence, feel like your shoulder is freezing and it is hard for you to move it. As immobility increases, the muscles are wasted, and the pain may even subside. As the frozen shoulder thaws, you feel like the block of ice is disintegrating and you can move your arm slightly.
What Causes Frozen Shoulder?
This problem affects more women than men, and it is common in adults who are between 40 and 65 years old. It affects one shoulder, and may move to the other later, and it targets the least active shoulder.
Several factors put a person at risk of getting this condition such as injury to the shoulder and surgery. Conditions such as diabetes, heart and lung disease, dupuytren’s contracture, thyroid disease and break cancer can also lead to this problem. Frozen shoulder causes also include rotator cuff tear, calcific tendonitis and immobility or stagnation.
Frozen Shoulder Diagnosis
The doctor will conduct a clinical exam and evaluate your medical history. If the frozen shoulder diagnosis proves that there is an underlying condition, the doctor will run blood tests and imaging tests. It is wise to visit a doctor as soon as you experience shoulder pain or your shoulder becomes immobile. He/she will ask you a few questions to find out when the symptoms began, whether you have an underlying medical condition, or you suffered an injury. The doctor will move your arm to evaluate the state, severity and look for any swells or bruises.
Treatment for Frozen Shoulder
This problem can persist for about two to three years if you do not get frozen shoulder treatment. Techniques used for frozen shoulder relief vary, based on the stage of your condition. The doctor will put you on painkillers such as Paracetamol, ibuprofen and Codeine if your condition is in the freezing stage. You might also need to avoid movements that may worsen the pain. The doctor may also inject painkillers into your shoulder to ease the discomfort.
The doctor may recommend frozen shoulder exercises if the condition is in the last two stages. A physiotherapist will work with you to ensure the process is bearable with little to no shoulder pain at all. Frozen shoulder surgery is only prescribed when the condition gets worse. The orthopaedic surgeon may manipulate the shoulder or conduct the arthroscopic capsular release.
Frozen Shoulder Exercises
Frozen shoulder exercises can reduce the pain or even heal the shoulder without the need for other treatment. It depends with the stage of your condition. Exercise after a shower and stop if the slight pain you may feel as you stretch stays for over 30 minutes.
Exercises for frozen shoulder include the pendulum where you lean forward, support yourself on your right hand and swing the left arm back and forth at least 10 times. You can also twist a rolling pin held in both arms or lie on your back, support your injured arm and lift it over your head back and forth. However, it is advisable to work with a physiotherapist to ensure you do not worsen the problem.