Many people don’t know what Frozen Shoulder, or Adhesive Capsulitis is until they are diagnosed with the condition.
Frozen Shoulder is also sometimes known as Frozen Shoulder Syndrome.
Frozen Shoulder symptoms
The shoulder joint becomes stiff, because bands of tissue or adhesions develop. There may be less lubricating fluid or synovial, in the joint.
Limited, or no range of motion is the best indicator of frozen shoulder syndrome.
Frozen shoulder also lasts much longer than a pulled muscle due to overexertion. A correct diagnosis, physical therapy, and pain medication will help to relieve you of frozen shoulder.
See a doctor to get frozen shoulder diagnosed and to start treatment.
It may take as much as 18 months to fully recover, and in some cases, surgery may have to be discussed as a frozen shoulder treatment option.
Types of frozen shoulder
There are primary and secondary types of frozen shoulder.
Primary frozen shoulder
Primary frozen shoulder actually has no known cause.
Secondary frozen shoulder
Secondary frozen shoulder is due to trauma, or immobilization due to surgery, stroke, or other systemic diseases.
Frozen shoulder treatment
The focus of treatment with frozen shoulder or adhesive capsulitis is to continue working on increasing range of motion, but also limiting the pain of doing so.
Gentle exercise along with pain medication or corticosteroid injections may be the best combination, before seeking other alternatives involving surgery.
Alternative medicines may also be very helpful in loosening tissue, reducing inflammation, and relieving pain if you are seeking frozen shoulder treatment.
Adhesive capsulitis, or frozen shoulder treatment, involves preserving as much mobility in the shoulder joint as possible, while controlling the pain. When you develop frozen shoulder, the joint capsule thickens, and becomes tight.
Frozen shoulder medications
Medications containing aspirin and ibuprofen may help to control the pain, and inflammation, while stronger pain relievers and anti-inflammatory drugs may need to be prescribed in the most painful stage of frozen shoulder.
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Frozen shoulder physical therapy
Physical therapy will usually help, using stretching exercises, to maintain mobility, and to prevent muscle atrophy in the affected arm.
Physical therapy alone may not be beneficial without pain-relieving injections, if the pain is too severe.
Corticosteroids may be injected into the shoulder joints, relieving the pain by treating the inflammation of the tightened tissue causing the pain.
Both therapy and injections used together seem to complement each other, so that the shoulder joint can be exercised to increase range of motion, with limited pain.
Frozen shoulder surgery and alternative treatments
If the frozen shoulder pain and immobility issues last for over 18 months, your doctor may recommend surgery or alternative shoulder treatments.
Alternative medicine such as acupuncture, inserting fine needles at specific points of the body to relieve pain may also be used.
Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) is another alternative which delivers tiny electrical currents, delivered through electrodes, to key nerves, which in turn may stimulate the release of endorphins, or pain-reducing molecules to block pain.
Capsular joint distension is another alternative treatment for frozen shoulder. Capsular joint distension involves injecting sterile water into the shoulder joint capsule.
This replaces some of the synovial fluid around the joint, and can help to stretch the tissue, making it easier to move the shoulder joint.
Shoulder manipulation is used to help loosen the tightened tissue, using general anaesthetic.
The doctor then moves your shoulder joint in different directions to loosen the tissue surrounding the joint. This alternative is used less often, due to the risk of bone fracture.
What is frozen shoulder surgery?
Frozen shoulder surgery may include removing scar tissue and adhesions arthroscopically, using a lighted, tubular instrument inserted through small incisions around the shoulder joint.
Arthroscopic surgery may be used with shoulder manipulation under anaesthesia, where the scar tissue and adhesions are stretched or torn in order to restore range of movement.
Because it is important in frozen shoulder treatment, to exercise as much as possible, a physical therapist can be very important.
The therapist may use ultrasound treatments, sending sound waves to relieve the inflammation surrounding the joint.
Gentle exercises may be the most effective way to loosen the tissue around the shoulder joint, and your doctor or physical therapist will provide exercises to do at home.
Liquid heat is often used to relax the shoulder, before doing the specific exercises, and the exercises should be stopped if the pain experienced is too intense.
Frozen shoulder exercise
Exercise is an important part of frozen shoulder treatment. My shoulder program contains full details with clear pictures to make rehabilitating and strengthening you shoulder simple to do at home, you can order it by clicking the link below:
Related Frozen Shoulder resources:
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Tim Allardyce DO MCSP SRP