A frozen shoulder is a common shoulder condition that is usually characterized by a stiff and painful shoulder.
Symptoms of this condition start mainly with pain which slowly leads to restriction of movement.
Treatment involves medication, physiotherapy, home exercises besides others.
A frozen shoulder is a common shoulder condition that is usually characterized by a stiff and painful shoulder and medically termed as Adhesive capsulitis. The range of motion of the shoulder is limited which impacts daily activities. The pain in the initial stages is very disturbing.
We need to understand the basics of shoulder anatomy to understand Adhesive capsulitis. A shoulder joint is formed when the head of the upper arm bone (humerus), which is in the shape of a ball, attaches itself to the socket part of the shoulder blade bone (scapula). Connective tissue surrounds this shoulder joint, called the shoulder capsule. When this capsule becomes stiff and thick, it impacts the movement of the joint. The synovial fluid which is responsible to keep the joint lubricated is also reduced which causes even more restriction in movement. This condition is called the frozen shoulder or Adhesive capsulitis.
Symptoms of this condition start mainly with pain which slowly leads to restriction of movement. The range of motion can be restricted in either one direction or multiple. The condition can be categorized into three stages:
This is normally called the ‘freezing stage’, where the pain is the main symptom. It can start with mild pain and can range up to excruciating pain. Restriction of movement also increases. This stage is about 6 weeks to 9 months in duration.
This stage is called the ‘Frozen stage’. This stage mainly entails the symptom of stiffness and hence the term ‘frozen’. The pain may lessen but the restriction of movement increases. The joint will be stiff to perform loads of daily activities. This stage is about 2 to 9 months.
This stage is called the ‘thawing stage’. The pain reduces and also the range of motions begins to improve. Risk Factors associated with Frozen shoulder:
Your practitioner needs a physical examination to diagnose a frozen shoulder. Symptoms and medical history are asked followed by examining your shoulder and arms. The shoulder shall be moved in every direction to ascertain the range of motions.
Both ranges of motions i.e active and passive are tested. Passive range of motion is where the practitioner moves the shoulder in every direction to know the ranges. Active is when the patient moves the shoulder himself. X-rays may be prescribed to see arthritic changes or other abnormalities.
The treatment of frozen shoulder involves a combination of the following to get speedy recovery:
Your physiotherapist may recommend you few electro-modalities to reduce pain and inflammation. The electro-modalities can include:
Physiotherapists also include a complete exercise regime that consists of stretching and strengthening exercises. To increase the joint range of motion, the physiotherapist may also include joint manipulation techniques.
Stretching exercises include active stretching with the help of certain equipment such as shoulder wheel, shoulder ladder, pulley, etc. Strengthening exercises can be done with resistance exercises. The resistance can be provided by physiotherapists, dumbbells, sandbags, and thera-bands.
Apart from the exercises done in the physiotherapy center, it is advised to do exercises at home as taught by the physiotherapist. This will help in achieving a speedy recovery and prevent further restriction of movement. Once recovered, these exercises will help prevent rebound of the frozen shoulder. Although one should be regular with the exercises.
Do you wish to prevent the frozen shoulder? The good news is that the home exercises prescribed to treat the frozen shoulder can be done to prevent the same. It basically includes movement of the shoulder joint in all directions till the full range of motion. Ask your physiotherapist, and he/she shall show you the exercises which can be easily performed at home.
Today, you can easily get in touch with any relevant doctor, physiotherapist, and health expert on the Bajaj Finserv Health platform. You can not only search for doctors near you but also set up appointments, partake in video consultations, and share personal health records for the best diagnosis and advice. Get ready for a journey towards a healthy life!