Are you experiencing severe pain and facing difficulty in moving your shoulders?
Is it hampering your day-to-day activities?
You might be suffering from a frozen shoulder. Dr. Sandeep Singh, a renowned orthopedic doctor in Bhubaneswar, says, “You should seek treatment at the earliest to alleviate the pain and regain shoulder movement.”
Adhesive capsulitis, commonly known as frozen shoulder, is a condition wherein the shoulder becomes inflamed and stiff with a limited range of motion. People, especially women in the age group of 40 to 60, are more likely to suffer from it.
It happens when the connective tissue around the shoulder joint becomes tighter and thicker and develops scar tissue gradually over time. This makes it difficult for the shoulder joint to rotate correctly.
If you think you have a frozen shoulder, this article will help you.
First, let’s start with the symptoms of frozen shoulder.
The most obvious symptom of a frozen shoulder is stiffness and pain, making it impossible or hard to move it. The pain may worsen at night, making it difficult to sleep.
Frozen shoulder usually goes through three phases:
- You feel pain in the shoulder whenever you move it
- It gets worse over time and hurts more at night
- It can limit your shoulder movement
- It can last for six to nine months
- You might feel less pain, but the stiffness has worsened
- It becomes challenging to move your shoulder, thus affecting everyday activities.
- It can last for four to twelve months.
- You can start moving your shoulder normally
- It will take about six months to a couple of years.
Who is at risk of getting frozen shoulder?
Frozen shoulder is more likely to occur at 40 to 60 years and is more prevalent in women. “Diabetes increases your risk for this condition,” says Dr. Sandeep Singh, an experienced orthopedist in Bhubaneswar. He is the HOD of Sports Injury and Rehabilitation at Care Super Speciality Hospital.
Apart from these, the other risks are:
- People having thyroid disorder, heart disease, and Parkinson’s disease
- People having a shoulder sling due to surgery or injury.
- People who are still for a long duration because of surgery or stroke.
How is frozen shoulder diagnosed?
Generally, the doctors diagnose the condition based on a physical exam and the symptoms you experience. The doctor will evaluate the range of motion by making you do some specific movements.
They may ask you to undergo a few tests such as:
To check for arthritis and other issues
To see if there is a tear in your rotator cuff
To check the shoulder structure in detail
What are the treatment options for frozen shoulder?
If left untreated, it will take you up to three years to recover from a frozen shoulder. However, a combination of treatments can help you recover faster.
Physical therapy is one of the most effective treatments for frozen shoulder. It helps stretch the joint and regain lost motion. To notice progress, it may take a few weeks to nine months. You will have to follow the exercise routine regularly at home. If you do not see any improvement after intense exercise every day, you can opt for other medical options.
The doctor may prescribe medications to ease the pain and reduce inflammation. Corticosteroid injection helps improve the symptoms. It is directly injected into the shoulder joint.
If the above nonsurgical methods fail to show any improvement, the doctor may suggest hydrodilatation. In this procedure, the doctor gently injects a large volume of sterile liquid using imaging to stretch and expand the shoulder capsule.
Surgery is recommended when non-surgical methods do not help relieve symptoms and is mostly done during the frozen stage. The motive is to stretch and release the joint capsule. The two most common surgical interventions are:
The orthopedic surgeon will forcibly move your stiffened shoulder joint, causing the scar tissue and capsule to stretch or tear. This procedure is done under general anesthesia. It will help release the stiffness and increase movement.
During this minimally-invasive procedure, the surgeon makes tiny incisions on your shoulder through which he passes small instruments to cut through the tight areas of the joint capsule.
Quite often, arthroscopy and manipulation are used together to get maximum benefit. It is known to give positive results.
After undergoing surgery, it is necessary to follow up with physical therapy so as to maintain the motion achieved during the procedure.
Recovery is a slow process taking six weeks to around three months. The outcome depends on your commitment to therapy. The majority of patients experience less or no pain in the long run and even have an increased range of motion.
If you have chronic or acute shoulder pain, you can consult Dr. Sandeep Singh, an acclaimed ortho doctor in Bhubaneswar, for comprehensive diagnosis and treatment.