The Causes Behind Frozen Shoulder

Symptoms and diagnosis for Frozen Shoulder
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By Orthopaedic and Neurology Clinic

What is define by a Frozen Shoulder?

Frozen shoulder is a shoulder condition that limits your range of motion. When the tissues in your shoulder joint become thicker and tighter, scar tissue develops over time. As a result, your shoulder joint doesn’t have enough space to rotate properly. Common symptoms include swelling, pain, and stiffness. You’re more likely to have the condition if you’re between the ages of 40 and 60

What are some symptoms of a Frozen Shoulder?

The main symptoms of a frozen shoulder are pain and stiffness that make it difficult or impossible to move it.

If you have frozen shoulder, you’ll likely feel a dull or achy pain in one shoulder. You might also feel the pain in the shoulder muscles that wrap around the top of your arm. You might feel the same sensation in your upper arm. Your pain could get worse at night, which can make it hard to sleep.

You’ll typically go through three phases with a frozen shoulder. Each has its own unique symptoms and timeline.

Freezing stage:

  • You develop a pain (sometimes severe) in your shoulder any time you move it.
  • It slowly gets worse over time and may hurt more at night.
  • This can last anywhere from 6 to 9 months.
  • You’re limited in how far you can move your shoulder.

Frozen stage:

  • Your pain might get better but your stiffness gets worse.
  • Moving your shoulder becomes more difficult and it becomes harder to get through daily activities.
  • This stage can last 4-12 months.

Thawing stage:

  • Your range of motion starts to go back to normal.
  • This can take anywhere from 6 months to 2 years.

“Most people recover within two years without treatment for frozen shoulder. Physical therapy and pain medications speed up this progress. If you have surgery, it’s important to continue the therapy exercises in the following months so that the problem doesn’t return.”

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What types of diagnosis?

Our doctor may ask you to move in certain ways to check for pain and evaluate your range of motion (active range of motion). He might then ask you to relax your muscles while he or she moves your arm (passive range of motion). Frozen shoulder affects both active and passive range of motion.

In some cases, your doctor might inject your shoulder with a numbing medicine (anesthetic) to determine your passive and active range of motion.

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

Possible treatment methods?

Physical therapy

Our therapist can teach you range-of-motion exercises to help recover as much mobility in your shoulder as possible. Your commitment to doing these exercises is important to optimize recovery of your mobility.

Medication 

Our doctor may prescribe medications to help reduce pain and inflammation associated with frozen shoulder. In some cases, our doctor may prescribe stronger pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory medicines.

Shockwaves Therapy

This treatment relieve Shoulder Pain quickly without the need for invasive surgery and pain medications. Shockwaves are acoustic waves which carry high energy to the painful shoulder. This energy promotes regeneration and repair of the soft tissues surrounding the afflicted shoulder. 

Surgery

Most frozen shoulders get better on their own within 12 to 18 months. For persistent symptoms, our doctor may suggest:

  • Steroid injections. Injecting corticosteroids into your shoulder joint may help decrease pain and improve shoulder mobility, especially in the early stages of the process.
  • Joint distension. Injecting sterile water into the joint capsule can help stretch the tissue and make it easier to move the joint.
  • Shoulder manipulation. In this procedure, you receive a general anesthetic, so you’ll be unconscious and feel no pain. Then our doctor moves your shoulder joint in different directions, to help loosen the tightened tissue.
  • Surgery. Surgery for frozen shoulder is rare, but if nothing else has helped, our doctor may recommend surgery to remove scar tissue and adhesions from inside your shoulder joint. Doctors usually perform this surgery with lighted, tubular instruments inserted through small incisions around your joint (arthroscopically).

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