Health

Dealing with frozen shoulder

Frozen shoulder, medically known as adhesive capsulitis, is a condition that leads to stiffness in the shoulder joint. It thus causes limited mobility in the joint. The shoulder joint is also a painful condition for the patient, alongside being a source of great discomfort.

Adhesive capsulitis is a progressive condition that is more likely to affect patients who are immobile, for example, those recovering from a stroke.

Older people are more likely to suffer from frozen shoulder. It is also more common in women as opposed to men.

Most often, frozen shoulder is treated using exercise, that your Physiotherapist in Lahore can help you perform. However, for certain serious cases, surgery may also be performed to heal the shoulder.

Symptoms of Frozen Shoulder

Since it is a progressive shoulder, the symptoms accompanying each stage are different. The cycle of frozen shoulder involves onset of the condition, joint becoming immobile and finally, the road to recovery. The entire cycle may even last for several years. Following are the three main stages of frozen shoulder:

Freezing stage

Characteristics of this stage include immense pain in the shoulder. Any movement results in pain. The range of motion of the joint also starts to decrease by this point. This period lasts anywhere from 6 weeks to 9 months.

Frozen stage

In this step, while the pain starts to abate a little, however, the joint becomes very stiff. It thus becomes very hard for the person to then use the joint. This stage can last from 2 to 6 months.

Thawing stage

At this point in the disease, the shoulder starts to get better. The range of motion also slowly returns.  This stage can also from 6 months to 2 years.

Causes of frozen shoulder

The exact causes of frozen shoulder are unknown. Essentially, the capsule encasing the connective tissue thickens, and makes the movement of the shoulder hard. Why this happens is still a conundrum, but certain people are more prone to it. Diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, cardiac disease, hypothyroidism increase the propensity towards the disease.

Moreover, shoulder immobilization for long periods of time, as is the case with surgery, fracture, or some form of injury, can also lead to increase in the risk of frozen shoulder.

Treatment of frozen shoulder

The treatment of frozen shoulder is contingent on the stage of the disease. Commonly employed treatment methods include:

Hold and cold compress

This method is effective in the initial phase, as it helps in curbing the pain associated with frozen shoulder. Hot and cold compress are also effective for reducing swelling.

TENS

TENS refers to transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation which dispenses small current to the affected region. This then helps with pain relief then.

Medication

Patients maybe prescribed nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, NSAIDs, that not only help with the pain relief, but also help with lowering inflammation in the joint.

However, patients with greater complaints of swelling and pain may also be then administered steroid injections, that are injected directly into the shoulder.

Shoulder arthroscopy

This treatment route is used when medication otherwise is not proving effective. It is a surgical treatment in which doctor cuts through the tight parts of the joint capsules. They then insert small instruments in these cuts.

Manipulation under anesthesia

This is also a procedure that is carried out after other options are exhausted. Patient is put under general anesthesia, and doctor then forces the movement of the joint. It then causes tear to the capsule, allowing the movement of the joint to return.

Physical therapy

There are many stretching exercises that facilitate with the healing. Moreover, these exercises are also effective for increasing the range of motion of the shoulder. However, be sure to consult the best Physiotherapist for to fully benefit from physical therapy.

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