A slightly less common condition than most is a source of pain to the shoulder called “Frozen Shoulder” (aka adhesive capsulitis). Though many who suffer from it have not heard of this condition, many are affected by it. Frozen shoulder can severely limit one’s ability to do simply every day tasks that require the arms. It can make getting out of bed a battle, making a meal arduous, and giving a hug to a loved one painful. What is this condition that sounds more like a food than a disease? This article will discuss what frozen shoulder consists of and how to provide some relief.
What is it?
Froze shoulder is basically an inflammation of the shoulder joint that causes pain and limited mobility. If you find yourself unable to move your arm freely and are experiencing pain or stiffness in that area, froze shoulder may be the culprit. The pain causes many sufferers of froze shoulder to avoid using their arm whenever possible. Unfortunately, disuse only leads to increased joint stiffness and will continue to cause a decrease in mobility.
It is called “frozen shoulder” because it causes the shoulder to become thick and tight. The condition can last anywhere from one and a half months to nine months. The time between the fourth and the sixth month is usually the most difficult, with the most limits on mobility. Most who suffer from frozen shoulder find complete recovery in between six months and two years.
The most affected age group tends to be those between 40 and 60 years of age, and women have a higher risk to get it than men.
Inflammation in the shoulder joint causes the pain associated with this condition. The joint is designed to pivot smoothly within the socket, with only cartilage between the ball and the socket acting as a lubricant. Inflammation often causes the joint to fill up with blood, or other fluids, causing pain as the joint is stretched.
Many things can contribute to inflammation of the shoulder. Any injury can be a factor, whether it be a fracture or just a bruise. Surgery has at times contributed to painful inflammation as has diabetes and cervical disk disease.
Diabetes is mentionable risk factor. About 20% of diabetics suffer from frozen shoulder. Those who suffer from diabetes should make a conscious effort to use their shoulder often, never letting it experience long periods of inactivity.
One other cause of frozen shoulder is general inactivity. A person who does not use their shoulder often is at risk for this condition. Hospitalized individuals should be especially careful to consciously use their arms on a regular basis, particularly after surgery on or around the shoulder.
It is important to catch frozen shoulder early to maximize the effectiveness of the treatment. Anyone who notices an increased pain and difficulty in moving their shoulder should consult their doctor as to their risk. If caught early, simply moving the shoulder often can keep it from becoming severe. The constant movement of the tendons can keep adhesions from forming, thereby keeping the condition from developing.
Physical therapy is the most often recommended solution. It can be utilized even by those who do not take advantage of any of the medical options.
Relief can be found by anti-inflammatory medications as well as steroid injections. This is typically done regularly for several weeks and then followed by physical therapy. Anyone suffering from frozen shoulder should talk to their doctor about treatment options.
Surgery is sometimes used to alleviate severe cases. This should be reserved for only very bad cases and the risks discussed thoroughly with your doctor.
So what if you have waited until you could barely move your shoulders before seeking help? What if adhesions have formed and it seems too late for effective therapy? The good news is that the condition usually will alleviate itself in a couple years if no medication is taken or procedure is performed. Though some pain will have to be endured, those who suffer from frozen shoulder can look forward to a future free from shoulder pain.