Frozen Shoulder

What Is Meant By Frozen Shoulder?

A woman in a red shirt holds her shoulder in distressFrozen shoulder is a painful condition wherein the shoulder affected gets very stiff and has a limited range of motion. This may follow an sport injury or surgery, and often comes on very slowly. Physical therapy can alleviate its symptoms and it will eventually go away on its own.

Want to know more about frozen shoulder and what can be done to alleviate the pain from this condition? All of us at Lakeland Spine Center care about your well-being, and will be more than happy to discuss any questions you might have. Call us today.

Symptoms of Frozen Shoulder

The main symptoms of frozen shoulder are stiffness around the shoulder joint, pain during movement and a gradual reduction in the range of movement. This will often follow as a consequence of shoulder surgery or a recent shoulder injury.

Causes

As we said, this condition often develops following a recent shoulder injury or surgery, especially if you do not faithfully work at restoring the range of movement to that area. The doctor will prescribe physical therapy sessions following such events, and it is important to follow their instructions to avoid this condition from developing. Older patients especially need to be careful, as other conditions such as diabetes or arthritis can bring it on much earlier.

The tissues around the joint will continue to stiffen if not treated and eventually scar tissue will develop inside. The more scar tissue that develops, the more limited your range of movement will become. Post menopausal women, those of an age between 40 and 70 years of age, are more likely to develop this condition than men.

Diagnosing

If you go to your doctor and a limited range of movement is already developing, he may have an X-ray done to see what exactly is going on with your shoulder. This is done to eliminate other conditions, like arthritis and the particular test that will be used is called an arteriogram. A contrast dye will be injected into the shoulder area, so that it will appear more sharply on the X-ray.

Treatment

The first treatment you will receive if your doctor determines that you are developing frozen shoulder will be applications of heat to the shoulder, followed by non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs for the pain. This type of physical therapy is very effective in treating this condition, as gentle stretching exercises will be done following the application of heat pads. It may take months to restore a satisfactory range of movement, but it is still important to complete your prescribed therapy sessions. If this does not work, surgery may be done to loosen up some of the tendons and tissues around the shoulder area. Continuing to exercise the shoulder following treatments will help prevent it from recurring as strongly again.