Frozen shoulder or adhesive capsulitis happens when your shoulder joints lose their range of motion in all directions. Frozen shoulder can develop when the tissues in your shoulder joint become thicker and tighter. It prompts scar tissues to grow, which later on congest space, disabling the shoulder joints to move appropriately. Frozen shoulder can be idiopathic; this means that doctors are not exactly sure why this condition happens. Symptoms of frozen shoulder include stiffness, swelling, and pain. Symptoms occur slowly and then intensify over time.
A person first notices a frozen shoulder when it starts to hurt and limit the person’s movements. When you limit your movement, the shoulder becomes stiffer. Later on, you will realize that your shoulder cannot move at all like it used to. Putting your arms up will become difficult, if not impossible. The same difficulty applies to other everyday activities that require the shoulder to move. Frozen shoulder develops according to three stages. The first one is the freezing stage, marked by pain on any shoulder movement and a limited motion range. The second stage is the frozen stage. This stage may go pain, but the shoulders are stiffer, making it more challenging to use them. The third is known as the thawing stage, where your shoulders’ range of motion starts to improve.
Along with other shoulder problems like rotator cuff tears and bursitis, a frozen shoulder will cause shoulder blade pain. It is essential to treat these conditions to avoid complications with their nearby body parts. If left untreated, a frozen shoulder can cause three-year-long stiffness and pain. Frozen shoulder is often treated with a combination of physical therapy, medications, and home care. The most common way of treating a frozen shoulder is through physical therapy, where one stretches the shoulder joints to recover its motion. If you want to stop the pain and inflammations, pain killers are often advised by doctors. Placing a cold compress on the shoulders a few times a day can also ease the pain. Numbing medications and corticosteroids are sometimes injected into the joint capsule. At home, you can practice the exercises done during physical therapy sessions. Just make sure that you are accompanied if the stretches need assistance. Improvements via physical therapy might take long to manifest. In case the condition gets worst, your doctor might recommend surgery.
This article explains the common causes of frozen shoulder.
1. Age and sex
People between 40 to 60 are more prone to frozen shoulder. Among active adults, impingement syndrome or shoulder impingement is a common shoulder problem that occurs as they get older. Impingement syndrome is painful and can result in a frozen shoulder. Frozen shoulder is also more common among women.
2. Reduced mobility
People who have reduced mobility or prolonged immobility are more likely to develop a frozen shoulder. People recovering from injury or surgery typically wear a shoulder sling. It disables the shoulder from moving over a long period. Similarly, people who had a stroke or mastectomy are inhibited from moving their arms for a long time. This immobility may bring about frozen shoulder, shoulder blade pain, and other muscle or joint problems.
Any injury to the shoulder may result in a frozen shoulder. Shoulder injuries include tendinitis, rotator cuff injury, bursitis, and shoulder impingement. Tendinitis is the inflammation of a tendon. It is common around the shoulders, knees, heels, wrists, and elbows. Rotator cuff injury or rotator cuff syndrome is a tear of the muscles and tendons which keep the shoulder joints in place. Bursitis can happen because of the inflammation of a bursa sac.
Bursa sacs are responsible for easing the friction between tissues. Shoulder impingement is an injury to the muscles between the bones often linked with bursitis and rotator cuff tendinitis. These injuries may develop all at once or one at a time.
4. Certain diseases
People with certain health conditions are at risk of developing a frozen shoulder. People suffering from diabetes, hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism, cardiovascular disease, and tuberculosis are prone to frozen shoulder. If you are experiencing one of these diseases, it is good always to consult your doctor to monitor your overall health and avoid developing other underlying illnesses.