A frozen shoulder is defined by shoulder pain and rigidity. This condition generally starts after sustaining a shoulder injury that results to pain and does not allow the individual to move the shoulder as normally as before. Oftentimes, it might manifest for no known reason.
In case an individual has diminished shoulder movement for weeks, months or years due to an injury, the capsule bordering the shoulder joint might stiffen. The shoulder might form scar tissue or adhesions within the joint.
What are the signs?
- Generally, there is difficulty moving the shoulder in all directions.
- Inability to lift the arm above the head or reach out to scratch the back
- Grinding sensation or achiness arises when moving the shoulder
Management of a frozen shoulder
- If there is shoulder pain, apply an ice pack with a clean towel or cloth every 3-4 hours for 20 minutes at a time.
- The doctor provides a shot of steroid directly into the shoulder joint to ease the pain and swelling.
- The doctor suggest an anti-inflammatory medication.
- Physical therapy includes a guided exercise regimen. In some cases, the doctor also suggests suitable home exercises.
In case the condition does not settle with medications and exercise, the doctor might suggest a procedure to breakdown the scar tissue inside the shoulder. During the procedure, the doctor uses general anesthesia. The doctor moves the shoulder in different directions to break up the adhesions. In some cases, arthroscopic surgery is carried out to check if there are other causes for frozen shoulder.
The recovery period is based on various factors including overall health and age as well as previous shoulder injuries. Remember that the effects of this condition can last for a long time and might even worsen if not correctly treated.