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Frozen shoulder is a medical condition that is not at all uncommon. It is seen in most of the adults especially those recovering from a certain medical condition. If proper care and treatment are not given on time, it gets worse with time and might result in a complete restriction in movement of the arm. From exercises to therapies to injections and medicines everything is included in the treatment of a frozen shoulder but sometimes the complete movement cannot be restored.
Read on and find out how Pillars of Wellness explain everything you need to know about the frozen shoulder and its treatment.
What is a frozen shoulder?
Frozen shoulder is another name for the medical condition known as adhesive capsulitis which is a condition that affects the shoulder joint and causes stiffness along with pain. This not only hurts but also affects the movement of the arm as well as the shoulder. It develops slowly and gradually but worsens with time and can become irreversible after a long period of neglect and no treatment.
To understand how a frozen shoulder occurs and what is the reason behind it, you need to understand the shoulder’s anatomy. Out shoulder has three basic parts that combine to make a ball socket joint. This ball-socket joint is enclosed in a muscle tissue that keeps the joint together. When this tissue gets thicker and harder, the joint inside is restricted. Along with the thickness of the joint, its stiffness also increases. This results in the frozen shoulder.
Some people confuse frozen shoulder with arthritis, but these two problems are unrelated and cannot be used interchangeably.
Based on the statistics given on the medical news today it is seen that adults between the ages of 40 years to 60 years are the ones most affected by this condition. Moreover, when both the genders were compared it was seen that women are more affected by this condition.
Factors the can increase the risk of developing a frozen shoulder:
Some of the factors that play an important role in the development of a frozen shoulder in the later ages apart from your gender and increasing age are:
- Movement: Lack of movement due to any reason, whether it is laziness or a medical condition can greatly increase the risk of developing a frozen shoulder. It can be due to a fracture or due to the recovery process from a surgery.
- Diseases: Individuals who suffer from certain diseases which can affect the muscles and the immunity of the body are seen to be at a greater risk of developing this particular condition.
The exact reason for the development of this condition is not exactly understood by the physicians and doctors as of now but the most likely cause that is considered by the physicians is the immobility of the shoulder. It can be due to a medical condition or just an unhealthy way of living.
Immobility of the arm and the shoulder results in the lack of exercise of the shoulder capsule which results in slight stiffness of the area. With further neglect, the tissue starts getting thicker which makes the movement even more difficult and causes pain as well. The immobility of the shoulder results in a chain reaction which keeps on worsening with time.
Another thing that is considered as a cause of frozen shoulder is diabetes. The reason for this is unknown but according to orthoinfo the amount of stiffness due to diabetes increases to a great extent which causes a frozen shoulder.
There are three main stages of a frozen shoulder that every patient undergoes. These stages are inevitable if the disease is neglected and no treatment is given. Moreover, these stages act as the symptoms of this condition. The three stages are:
- Freezing: this is the first part in which the problem is completely new. It starts hurting and a little stiffness is also observed. If caught in this stage, the condition can be completely reversed. During the freezing stage, the symptoms like stiffness and pain are usually felt during the night.
- Frozen: this is the second stage in which the pain remains the same, but the magnitude of stiffness increases to a great extent. The movement of the shoulder starts getting restricted. This phase can go as long as 6 months.
- Thawing: this is the stage when everything gets better. After exercises and treatment, the problem fades, movement resurfaces, and the pain starts going away.
There is three or four basic line of actions that are followed while treating a frozen shoulder. These treatments are:
- Physical therapy: this is the most common method of treating a frozen shoulder. With the help of heat and cold treatment along with regular exercises, the frozen shoulder starts diminishing. It can take anywhere between 6 to 9 weeks to get rid of the pain. Physical therapy is a very effective non-invasive method of treating the frozen shoulder.
- Medications: usually along with physical therapy anti-inflammatory medication and NSAIDs are given. This help in reducing the pain and inflammation in the shoulder capsule.
- Surgery: when no improvement is seen with medications and physical therapy the last resort is going for a surgery. This surgery is performed to break the adhesions and release the capsule. The surgery is not very invasive and only requires a small cut on the shoulder for sending the required equipment inside the body.
The subject of this case study is a 57 years old female who works as a part-time lecturer. She experienced pain and stiffness in the shoulder for a long time and was diagnosed with the frozen shoulder by her physician. With only 50 percent movement and weak internal rotation of the shoulder, she was referred to physical therapy. With approximately 2 sessions every week, after only 2.5 weeks there was seen a huge difference in the magnitude of her problem. The movement improved from 50 percent to 80 percent and the internal rotation improved as well.
If you feel any symptoms or pain related to the above or else, contact us immediately. Our experienced therapists will be able to help you!