The frozen shoulder, also known as adhesive capsulitis refers to pain, stiffness and restricted range of movement in the shoulder. Overuse of the shoulder is a major contributor and an injury can also result in frozen shoulder. Diseases like stroke or diabetes also make you vulnerable to this condition. When you develop frozen shoulder, the tissues that surround the joint feel stiffened and the formation of the scar tissue also takes place. In such a situation, shoulder movements become highly painful and difficult. You develop this condition gradually over a period of time and it goes away in a slow manner after a year or so.
Major causes frozen shoulder
Sometimes, you are compelled to stop using the shoulder joint normally and it can be because of injury, pain or severe health conditions like stroke or diabetes. This situation makes you vulnerable to frozen shoulder. Any type of shoulder problem can result in this condition if you do not make efforts to maintain a full range of motion. People suffering from chronic diseases are prone to frozen shoulder and it has been found out that this problem occurs mostly between 40 and 70 years of age. Women are more susceptible compared to men, particularly during the postmenopausal stage.
Frozen shoulder treatment options
The frozen shoulder treatment involves managing shoulder pain and maintaining an optimal range of motion in the shoulder.
Popular painkillers and anti-inflammatory medications
In order to eliminate or reduce the pain, there are over-the-counter painkillers available. The most popular ones are aspirin and ibuprofen and these medications also reduce inflammation linked with frozen shoulder. If the pain is severe, you can opt for stronger anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving drugs but they should be taken under the supervision of your doctor.
Diagnosis of frozen shoulder
When the physical exam reveals restricted shoulder movement, doctors suspect frozen shoulder. Normally, an X-ray is taken to identify whether symptoms stem from broken bone or arthritis.
Treatment options for frozen shoulder
Your doctor starts the treatment with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Heat is applied to the affected area and then, you are asked to do some gentle stretching. Ice can also be applied in the area to reduce pain and promote movements. Medications such as corticosteroid injections are also advised to control swelling and pain. Physical therapy also helps improve the range of motion.
Physical therapy is a popular frozen shoulder treatment
You can learn how to enhance your range of motion from a physical therapist. These professionals put forward range-of-motion exercises to restore optimal mobility in your shoulder and you must be committed to follow these exercises to make the recovery process highly effective.
You have to wait 12 to 18 months to get complete relief from the frozen shoulder. If you are experiencing persistent symptoms, your doctor may recommend steroid injections. It is being done by injecting corticosteroids into the shoulder joint and this method reduces pain considerably. It also enhances shoulder mobility, particularly during the early stages.
It is a process where sterile water is injected into the joint capsule. Joint distension allows you to stretch the tissue and the joint movement becomes a lot easier.
A general anesthetic is given when you undergo shoulder manipulation. You do not experience any pain because of the use of anesthetic. Your shoulder joint is moved in different directions for creating a loosening effect on the tightened tissue.
A surgical procedure is performed on very rare occasions. When all other methods fail, you have to undergo surgery. Surgery removes the scar tissue and the adhesions are also removed to offer relief. Lighted, tubular instruments are inserted using small incisions made around your joint.
Lifestyle changes and home remedies for frozen shoulder treatment
You must make sincere efforts to move the affected shoulder based on the pain intensity and range-of-motion threshold. Heat or cold can be applied to the shoulder for relieving pain. Acupuncture has been found effective in treating froze shoulder. This procedure refers to inserting needles on particular parts of your body and these needles are moved or manipulated for 15 to 40 minutes before removing. Since the needles are extremely thin and flexible, you do not have to worry about pain.
Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation
This procedure involves sending a small amount of electrical current to vital points on a nerve pathway. Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation, also known as TENS stimulates the pain-inhibiting molecules called endorphins release and the pain fibers that transport pain impulses are blocked.
Immobility can always be associated with frozen shoulder. Various aspects contribute to this condition and you must seek medical help at an early stage to make the recovery process faster. The doctor conducts a physical examination and then, an X-ray is taken to confirm frozen shoulder. The most suitable frozen shoulder treatment plan is decided according to the existing condition and the underlying reason.