Symptoms of Frozen Shoulder
Frozen shoulder occurs when there is constraint of motion in the shoulder joint. Physicians aren’t sure why this occurs and it often happens for no particular reason. The shoulder joint becomes extremely stiff and individuals have a hard time moving their arm because it becomes painful. Other symptoms include: shoulder pain, limited movement in the shoulder, difficulty lifting arms above the head, and shoulder pain while sleeping. Some common risk factors of frozen shoulder include age and gender, endocrine disorders, and trauma or surgery. This condition affects patients between 40 to 60 years old and is more common in women than men. Individuals with diabetes or thyroid problems have a higher chance of developing this condition. Although it is unlikely, patients who undergo surgery or sustain an injury can also encounter frozen shoulder.
Pain Relief, Physical Therapy
Exercising and stretching helps to increase mobilization and reduce the chance of losing muscle in the affected area. Patients will need to work with a physical therapist to come up with a routine. It is important that the patient knows they must complete these exercises several times a day to see results, even if they don’t attend a physical therapy class that day. The therapist will develop a program and that will include ice, heat and other key things to help in reducing symptoms of frozen shoulder.
Applying moist heat on the shoulder will help reduce stiffness and pain. Moist heat can be applied to the shoulder, and then the stretching exercises can take place. Soak a washcloth in hot water and place on the shoulder for 10 minutes before exercising. Patients will need to do this three times every day.
Cortisone injections are used to decrease inflamed areas around the shoulder joint. Physicians aren’t sure how successful cortisone injections are, but it does help to temporally relieve pain, and in turn increases time for additional physical therapy. Cortisone is effective when combined with a physical therapy routine.
In some cases, the treatments listed above do not always help relieve frozen shoulder. In these rare circumstances, the patient will need to consider manipulation under anesthesia as an option. The physician would use manipulation techniques while the patient is asleep under anesthesia. During the procedure, the physician will rotate the arm to break apart joints and muscles that are sticking together. This is not surgery because there are no incisions made while treatment is performed.
Will the shoulder return to normal?
Most people who experience frozen shoulder will have some limitations in motion even years after treatment. The limitation in motion is minimal and only recognized during physical examinations. Majority of individuals who have frozen shoulder will fully recover with stretching and physical therapy.