What is a Frozen Shoulder?
Frozen shoulder is also known as adhesive capsulitis is a common condition that results in stiffness, and pain, and obstructs the normal movement in the shoulder. It can get worse over time if not treated or taken care of properly. Women are more affected than men with this condition. It mostly occurs in elderly people above the age of 40. Often, the frozen shoulder condition may go away on its own but in severe situations seeking medical intervention would be advisable.
The cause of the frozen shoulder is not fully understood but it usually occurs due to inflammation contracture of the joint capsule. When scar tissue forms in the shoulder, the joint capsule thickens and tightens making the joint less mobile and stiff, this condition is termed a frozen shoulder. It can cause immense pain when trying to move. It may also be a result of injury or fracture.
Shoulder related causes include:
- Rotator cuff injury
- Misuse or overuse of shoulders
- Poor sleeping posture
Non-Shoulder related causes include:
- Prolonged use of sling
- Weakness in the shoulder muscles
- Referred pain
Stages of Frozen Shoulder
Patients with frozen shoulders may experience different symptoms that usually occur in stages. Initially, they can get worse and with time and treatment, they resolve in a period of 2-3 years.
Painful or freezing stage: This is the first stage and a painful one. It gradually becomes harder to move the arms. The pain gets elevated at the night. This stage may last from 6 weeks to 9 months.
Frozen stage: the pain does not increase in this stage but it may decrease. The stiffness remains the same with some restricted movements. This stage can last from 4-to 6 months.
Thawing: During this stage, the pain starts reducing but sometimes can recur. So the normal movement may be regained eventually. It takes around 6 months to 2 years to arrive at this stage.
90% of the frozen shoulder patients find that with some physical exercise, pain management, and medication the symptoms improve. The best orthopedic doctor in Hyderabad can suggest a proper course of action in such cases.
Diagnosis for frozen shoulder is usually based on the symptoms, history, and a physical examination. The doctor will closely examine the movement of the arm and shoulder to find out the abnormality and severity of the condition. This exam is done by touching and pressing the parts of the shoulder to see the stiffness and the degree of pain. Imaging tests such as X-rays can be taken in case of structural issues. This is the case if there was an accident or exterior injury in the past that has now affected the mobility of the shoulder.
Treatment for Frozen Shoulder:
A number of treatment options are available for treating frozen shoulders. The following steps can be taken to improve the condition.
Physical therapy has proved helpful in restoring mobility in the shoulder. A physical therapist may suggest a combination of exercises that can be done regularly to achieve a speedy recovery.
Medicines are the first plan in action when it comes to frozen shoulders. They help in reducing the increasing pain and inflammation during the initial stages. But this is temporary relief and the best orthopedic surgeon in Hyderabad may suggest the patient opt for surgery as the problem continues to grow.
When all the non-surgical ways fail to give any relief to the patient, surgery is the only option. The surgeon will remove the scar and damaged tissue from the shoulder. Arthroscopy is also an option where a small incision is done to remove the injured tissue to bring back the shoulder mobility.