Frozen shoulder, also called adhesive capsulitis, causes pain and stiffness in the shoulder. Over time, the shoulder becomes very hard to move.
After a period of worsening symptoms, frozen shoulder tends to get better, although full recovery may take up to 3 years. Physical therapy, with a focus on shoulder flexibility, is the primary treatment recommendation for frozen shoulder.
Frozen shoulder most commonly affects people between the ages of 40 and 60, and occurs in women more often than men. In addition, people with diabetes are at an increased risk for developing frozen shoulder.
Your shoulder is a ball-and-socket joint made up of three bones: your upper arm bone (humerus), your shoulder blade (scapula), and your collarbone (clavicle).
The head of the upper arm bone fits into a shallow socket in your shoulder blade. Strong connective tissue, called the shoulder capsule, surrounds the joint.
To help your shoulder move more easily, synovial fluid lubricates the shoulder capsule and the joint.
Stage 1: Freezing
In the “freezing” stage, you slowly have more and more pain. As the pain worsens, your shoulder loses range of motion. Freezing typically lasts from 6 weeks to 9 months.
Stage 2: Frozen
Painful symptoms may actually improve during this stage, but the stiffness remains. During the 4 to 6 months of the “frozen” stage, daily activities may be very difficult.
Stage 3: Thawing
Shoulder motion slowly improves during the “thawing” stage. Complete return to normal or close to normal strength and motion typically takes from 6 months to 2 years.
The causes of frozen shoulder are not fully understood. There is no clear connection to arm dominance or occupation. A few factors may put you more at risk for developing frozen shoulder.
Diabetes: Frozen shoulder occurs much more often in people with diabetes. The reason for this is not known. In addition, diabetic patients with frozen shoulder tend to have a greater degree of stiffness that continues for a longer time before “thawing.”
Other diseases: Some additional medical problems associated with frozen shoulder include hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, Parkinson’s disease, and cardiac disease.
Immobilization. Frozen shoulder can develop after a shoulder has been immobilized for a period of time due to surgery, a fracture, or other injury. Having patients move their shoulders soon after injury or surgery is one measure prescribed to prevent frozen shoulder.
Pain from frozen shoulder is usually dull or aching. It is typically worse early in the course of the disease and when you move your arm. The pain is usually located over the outer shoulder area and sometimes the upper arm.
Frozen shoulder generally gets better over time. The focus of treatment is to control pain and restore motion and strength through physical therapy.
Contact our Clinic for the treatment and consult with our doctor.
Reference: The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. (https://www.aaos.org/)