Frozen Shoulder is stiffness, pain or limited range of movement in the shoulder. This usually happens after an injury, overuse or from a disease such as diabetes or a stroke. This condition usually comes on slowly but will dissipate within a year or more.
When shoulder movements become difficult and painful, it is because the tissue around the joint has stiffened and scar tissues have formed. Frozen shoulder can develop because you’ve stopped using the joint normally. Whether due to pain, injury or chronic health issues, any shoulder problem can lead to frozen shoulder if you do not work to keep your full range of motion intact.
Frozen shoulder occurs most often in people with a serious shoulder injury, adults 40-70 years of age, people with chronic disease and usually occurs in women more often than men. Your doctor may suspect frozen shoulder if you have limited shoulder movement, an x-ray can determine whether symptoms are from a more serious condition such as arthritis or a broken bone.
The first treatment option your doctor will gravitate towards will be anti-inflammatory drugs, followed by application of heat to the are and gentle stretches. You’ll want to alternate heat with ice in order to reduce pain and/or swelling. Your doctor may also recommend physical therapy to increase your range of motion; however, frozen shoulder can take more than a year to overcome.
On rare occasions, surgery is done to loosen the tight tissues around the shoulder. The surgeon will stretch the tight tissue and/or use an arthroscope to cut through tight tissues and scar tissues.
To prevent frozen shoulder, patients should practice gentle, progressive range-of-motion exercises after surgery or an injury. Frozen shoulder nearly always gets better over time so, be patient and listen to the doctor’s advice.