Frozen Shoulder – Symptoms Causes & Treatment

Frozen shoulder treatment in Hyderabad

Frozen shoulder treatment in Hyderabad | Dr. Praharsha Mulpur

Adhesive capsulitis or Frozen shoulder – both these terms are used interchangeably. Frozen shoulder is a condition in which shoulder pain and stiffness are the prominent symptoms. The symptoms manifest rather slowly and then become worse over time. During this time, the affected shoulder becomes very difficult to move.

The symptoms altogether take a longer time to get better. People who develop frozen shoulders keep their shoulders stiff for a long time owing to which the condition becomes worse. Getting better from a worsened state usually takes a very long time.

Frozen Shoulder Develops in Three Stages

  • Freezing Stage: During this first stage, the pain gradually becomes more and more intense. As the pain worsens, the shoulder loses its motion. A freezing stage may last for up to 45 days to 9 months.
  • Frozen Stage: Pain eases somewhat during this period, but shoulder stiffness remains. This stage may last for up to 4 to 6 months. Performing daily activities may become a trivial task during this time.
  • Thawing stage:  Motion gradually starts to improve during this stage – and, it may come close to normal motion and strength – but, it may usually take around 8 months to two years.

Frozen shoulder Causes

There is no known cause of frozen shoulder as the causes are not fully understood. Even occupation or arm dominance doesn’t have any clear connection. However, there are some factors that can make a person at risk of developing a frozen shoulder:

Immobilization: When the shoulder is kept immobilized for a certain period of time after an injury, fracture, or surgery, a frozen shoulder may develop. Therefore, orthopedic doctors recommend their patients move their shoulders after surgery to prevent this condition.

Frozen shoulder symptoms

Shoulder pain is the most prominent symptom of a frozen shoulder. It is usually aching or dull pain that becomes intense when you move your arm.  The outer shoulder feels painful and sometimes the upper arm as well. The other major symptom is a limited range of motion.

Diagnosis of Frozen Shoulder

Your doctor will discuss your medical history and symptoms and then examines your shoulder. Your orthopedic doctor will keenly observe whether you will feel pain when you move your shoulder. In this way, the doctor will check and compare both the active range of motion (when you move your shoulder on your own) and the passive range of motion (when someone else moves your shoulder). After making you move your shoulder in all possible directions your doctor will try to see whether your shoulder movement is restricted and whether you feel pain with motion.

Furthermore, to rule out other causes of your shoulder stiffness and pain, your doctor will order the following tests:

X-rays: To detect any structural issues and fractures in the bones and also problems such as arthritis, X-rays are helpful.

An Ultrasound and MRI: Soft tissue injuries can also cause pain and stiffness in the shoulder joints. To have clear and better images of soft tissues ultrasound and MRI tests are helpful. Though these tests don’t help in diagnosing a frozen shoulder, they help in identifying torn rotator cuff.

Frozen Shoulder Treatment in Hyderabad

Without treatment, the symptoms to improve may take a very long time – maybe up to 2 to 3 years. Therefore, the major goal of treatment is to control pain and restore strength and motion.

The treatment for a frozen shoulder involves medications, physical and occupational therapy with a range of activities and exercises, and the use of corticosteroid injections.

Primary treatment involves physical therapy with an aim to improve the flexibility of shoulder muscles.

Arthroscopic surgery is recommended in rare cases. This will help loosen the joint capsule so that it can move very easily.

The non-surgical treatment for frozen shoulder

Pain relieving medicines (NSAIDs) – Ibuprofen and aspirin help reduce pain, swelling, and inflammation.

Corticosteroid injections such as cortisone are directly injected into the shoulder joint. It is a powerful anti-inflammatory medicine.

Physical therapy – Some proven exercises help in restoring stiffness and motion. Physiotherapy is done under the supervision of a physical therapist through a home-based program.

Surgical Treatment

When typical conservative non-surgical treatment approaches such as medicines and physical therapy don’t offer any relief, then you should discuss with your orthopedic surgeon the scope for recovery while continuing with simple treatments and the benefits of considering shoulder surgery.

The goal of surgery is to stretch and release the stiffened joint capsule. Shoulder arthroscopy provides excellent outcomes.