What is Frozen Shoulder?
Frozen shoulder is another term for adhesive capsulitis, a condition in which the shoulder’s range of motion becomes limited. This is due to existing scar tissue in the shoulder joint gradually becoming tighter and denser. After enough time, the scar tissue build-up prevents shoulder joint mobility, leading to stiffness, pain, and inflammation.
Frozen Shoulder Symptoms
Typically, a frozen shoulder can begin to develop long before an individual realizes that something might be wrong (around 2-9 months on average). The pain only begins when the scar tissue in the shoulder joint has thickened enough to affect mobility. Some specific symptoms include:
– Pain that makes it difficult to move the shoulder
– Inability to lift arms overhead
– Severely limited range of shoulder motion
Frozen Shoulder Causes
While the causes of frozen shoulder aren’t fully understood, it is generally agreed that the main issue is inflammation after a long period of illness, or the growth of scar tissue after injury and surgery. Factors that contribute to frozen shoulder include:
– Frozen shoulder is most commonly seen in middle aged women, from the ages of 40-60
– Having diabetes makes you 3x likelier to develop frozen shoulder
– Those who have thyroid disorders
– Those who have a history of wearing shoulder slings or shoulder surgeries
How is Frozen Shoulder treated?
While some opt to leave frozen shoulder untreated, be advised that the symptoms of stiffness and pain can last for three years or more. It is best to seek treatment methods to accelerate the healing process. These include:
– Home care
– Physical therapy
The goal of physical therapy is to rediscover the shoulder’s range of motion through stretching and strengthening activities. It is the most common treatment method for this condition, and results can begin to show in just a few weeks.