Frozen Shoulder

What is Frozen Shoulder?

Frozen shoulder, also known as adhesive capsulitis, is a common cause of shoulder pain and stiffness that commonly affects patients above the age of 40.

The shoulder joint is normally covered by a thin capsule. When this capsule gets inflamed, it causes pain and the shoulder remains stiff. This usually resolves with time.

Frozen Shoulder

What is Frozen Shoulder?

Frozen shoulder, also known as adhesive capsulitis, is a common cause of shoulder pain and stiffness that commonly affects patients above the age of 40.

The shoulder joint is normally covered by a thin capsule. When this capsule gets inflamed, it causes pain and the shoulder remains stiff. This usually resolves with time.

Causes and Symptoms of Frozen Shoulder

Causes

  • People with diabetes or thyroid problems may be prone to getting frozen shoulder.
  • Your risk of developing frozen shoulder increases after sustaining some injury to the shoulder or recovering from a medical condition that prevents you from moving your arm.

Symptoms
The inflammation of the shoulder joint causes the capsule to thicken and results in pain and shoulder movement being severely restricted. One may find difficulty in raising one’s arm above the head or reaching up to one’s back.

In some cases, however, the cause of the frozen shoulder cannot be identified.

How is it diagnosed?

Physical examination
It can usually be diagnosed from signs and symptoms alone. The doctor will check your range of shoulder motion to see how badly it hurts, and how far you can move your shoulder. He will also try to rule out other causes of pain in the shoulder.

Imaging tests
MRI scans, X-rays, or an ultrasound may be performed to rule out other problems such as arthritis and rotator cuff tears.

We provide consultation for shoulder arthritis cases

How is it diagnosed?

Physical examination
It can usually be diagnosed from signs and symptoms alone. The doctor will check your range of shoulder motion to see how badly it hurts, and how far you can move your shoulder. He will also try to rule out other causes of pain in the shoulder.

Imaging tests
MRI scans, X-rays, or an ultrasound may be performed to rule out other problems such as arthritis and rotator cuff tears.

We provide consultation for shoulder arthritis cases

Treatment Options

Fortunately, frozen shoulder usually resolves with time. By incorporating physiotherapy sessions, it normally takes 12 to 18 months to recover.

Keep in mind that if your condition requires surgery, your Orthopaedic Surgeon should always educate you on:

  • Risks of the surgery
  • How to prepare for a surgery
  • What will be required for post-op care

Painkillers
Treatment for frozen shoulder usually involves painkillers in the early painful phase.

Physiotherapy
Physiotherapy helps to improve the shoulder flexibility and function.

Injections
In some cases, a steroid injection into the shoulder joint may help to alleviate the pain and improve the shoulder’s function.

Frozen shoulder that does not resolve adequately with time may benefit from a minor surgical procedure.

Anthroscopy/Key-hole surgery

Another option is to do a more controlled surgical release of the joint where the thickened capsule of the joint is cut in a keyhole operation to remove the inflamed bursa as well as bone spurs.

Disclaimer

Shoulder | Elbow Orthopaedic Group does not endorse any treatments, procedures, products, or physicians that are referenced in this article. This information is provided as an educational service and is not intended to serve as medical advice. Anyone seeking specific orthopaedic advice or assistance should consult his or her Orthopaedic Surgeon.

If you have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact us at [email protected]

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