A frozen shoulder can be a frustrating and painful condition that affects your range of motion and quality of life. It can be caused by injury, overuse, or underlying health conditions. If you’re experiencing stiffness and limited mobility in your shoulder joint, you may be wondering what’s causing it and what you can do to treat it. Read on as we cover everything you need to know about a frozen shoulder, including its symptoms, causes, and treatment options.
What Is a Frozen Shoulder?
Frozen shoulder, also known as adhesive capsulitis, is a condition that affects the shoulder joint. It is characterized by stiffness, pain, and limited range of motion in the shoulder joint.
The shoulder joint is made up of the humerus (upper arm bone), scapula (shoulder blade), and clavicle (collarbone). The bones are held together by a capsule of connective tissue that surrounds the joint. In the frozen shoulder, this capsule becomes inflamed and thickened, causing it to tighten and contract around the joint. This makes it difficult and painful to move the arm.
Frozen shoulder typically progresses through three stages, namely:
This is the initial stage, characterized by pain and stiffness in the shoulder. The pain may be more intense at night and can be exacerbated by movements that require the arm to be lifted or rotated. The range of motion in the shoulder begins to decrease during this stage.
In this stage, the pain may decrease, but the stiffness and limited range of motion persist. The shoulder may become more difficult to move, making it challenging to perform everyday activities such as reaching for objects or getting dressed.
During this stage, the range of motion in the shoulder slowly begins to improve, and the pain subsides. The recovery process can take several months to years, depending on the severity of the condition.
What are the Causes of a Frozen Shoulder?
Several factors have been identified that can contribute to its development. These include:
Prolonged immobility of the shoulder joint can lead to the development of frozen shoulders. This can occur as a result of injury, surgery, or simply not using the shoulder due to pain or discomfort.
Inflammation of the tissues surrounding the shoulder joint can lead to the development of frozen shoulders. This can occur as a result of injury, infection, or autoimmune disorders.
Individuals with diabetes are more likely to develop frozen shoulders. The exact reason for this is not clear, but it may be related to changes in the tissues surrounding the joint.
Individuals with thyroid disorders are also at an increased risk of developing frozen shoulders. This may be related to changes in hormone levels that affect the tissues surrounding the joint.
People with cardiovascular disease may be at an increased risk of developing frozen shoulders. This may be related to changes in blood flow to the tissues surrounding the joint.
Other Medical Conditions
Several other medical conditions have been associated with an increased risk of developing frozen shoulders, including Parkinson’s disease, stroke, and connective tissue disorders.
Treatment of a Frozen Shoulder
Treatment of frozen shoulder typically involves a combination of physical therapy, medication, and in some cases, surgery. The goal of treatment is to reduce pain, increase range of motion, and restore function to the affected shoulder.
Physical therapy is a key component of treatment for frozen shoulders. A physical therapist can help you perform exercises that help to stretch and strengthen the muscles and ligaments around the shoulder joint. These exercises may include:
This involves bending forward at the waist while letting the affected arm hang down, then swinging the arm back and forth in a circular motion.
These exercises involve stretching the arm across the chest, behind the back, and over the head to improve flexibility.
These exercises are designed to increase the range of motion of the shoulder joint, such as lifting the arm up and down or rotating the shoulder.
These exercises are designed to strengthen the muscles around the shoulder joint, such as the rotator cuff muscles. Physical therapy sessions may be conducted several times a week for several months, depending on the severity of the condition.
In addition to physical therapy, medications may be used to help manage the pain and inflammation associated with frozen shoulder. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen or naproxen, may be prescribed to reduce pain and inflammation. In some cases, corticosteroid injections may be used to reduce inflammation and pain.
If physical therapy and medications are not effective, surgery may be considered. Surgery for frozen shoulder may involve removing scar tissue or adhesions that are limiting range of motion in the shoulder joint. Surgery is usually reserved for cases where other treatments have failed to provide relief.
A frozen shoulder can be a challenging condition to deal with, but with the right treatment and support, you can regain mobility and get back to your normal routine. If you’re experiencing symptoms of a frozen shoulder, don’t hesitate to contact Mobility Bone & Joint Institute. Our team of experts can provide a personalized treatment plan that addresses your specific needs and helps you achieve your goals. So, take the first step towards recovery and contact us today!