Frozen Shoulder: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment
Frozen shoulder, also known as adhesive capsulitis, is a painful condition that affects the shoulder joint. It causes a loss of mobility, stiffness, and pain in the affected area. If you are looking for information on frozen shoulder treatment and management of frozen shoulder pain, you’ve come to the right place. This article will provide an overview of what causes frozen shoulder, its symptoms, and the various treatments available.
Causes: Tight Muscles, Injury
There are various causes of a frozen shoulder, including tight muscles and injury. Tight muscles in the shoulder region can cause a frozen shoulder by limiting the range of motion in the joint. This can happen due to overuse or repetitive motions such as throwing a ball or lifting weights. Additionally, tightness in other parts of the body such as the neck and upper back can also contribute to a frozen shoulder.
Injury is another common cause of a frozen shoulder. Any trauma to the area including fractures, dislocations, or surgery can lead to inflammation and stiffness in the joint.
Symptoms: Pain, Limited Range of Motion
One of the primary symptoms of a frozen shoulder is pain. The pain may be dull or sharp and can radiate down your arm. It may be worse at night or when you try to lift something heavy. In addition to pain, you may also experience a limited range of motion in your shoulder. This means that you have difficulty moving your arm above your head or behind your back. Some people may even find it challenging to perform everyday tasks like brushing their hair or reaching for objects on high shelves.
Other symptoms of a frozen shoulder may include swelling and inflammation around the joint, weakness in the affected arm, and muscle spasms.
Diagnosis: Physical Exam, Imaging Tests
Physical examination is usually the first step in diagnosing frozen shoulders. A healthcare provider will assess your range of motion by asking you to move your arm in different directions. They may also apply pressure to certain areas to check for tenderness or instability. Imaging tests such as X-rays, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), or ultrasound may be used to confirm a diagnosis or rule out other conditions that can cause similar symptoms.
Imaging tests are especially useful when there is suspicion of underlying structural damage such as a rotator cuff tear or fracture.
Treatment: Physical Therapy, Medication
Physical therapy is often used as a first-line treatment for a frozen shoulder. A physical therapist can guide patients through stretching and strengthening exercises to improve their range of motion and alleviate pain. Heat therapy, massage, and ultrasound may also be utilized during physical therapy sessions to reduce inflammation and improve mobility.
In addition to physical therapy, medication can also help manage the symptoms of a frozen shoulder. Over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen may provide some relief from discomfort. In more severe cases where pain management is not sufficient, corticosteroid injections may be recommended by a physician.
Surgery: Last Resort Option
The initial treatment for a frozen shoulder involves physical therapy and pain management. However, if these methods do not work after several months, surgery may become an option. Frozen shoulder surgery is typically considered a last resort because it is invasive and involves a lengthy recovery period.
During frozen shoulder surgery, the surgeon manipulates the joint under anaesthesia to break up adhesions or scar tissue that have formed around the joint capsule. The goal of this surgical procedure is to release the stiffened capsule and restore the range of motion in the affected arm.
In conclusion, a frozen shoulder is a common yet painful condition that can affect anyone regardless of age or activity level. It is important to take steps to prevent the onset of this condition by maintaining a healthy posture and performing regular stretching exercises that target the shoulder muscles. If symptoms do arise, it is recommended to reach out to a medical professional for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan that works best for you.