Frozen shoulder is a commonly used name for adhesive capsulitis. The condition is characterized by a limited movement of your shoulders. This happens when the tissues in your shoulder joints become thick and tight leading to a development of scar tissue at the site. Common symptoms are stiffness, pain and swelling.
HOW IS FROZEN SHOULDER DIAGNOSED?
A General Physician will make a physical examination and after checking the movements ask for an X-ray to be done to determine the nature and extent of the condition. The doctor might want to be sure that it is not a case of arthritis. Some cases may be referred to the Orthopedic also for an opinion.
HOW IS FROZEN SHOULDER TREATED?
Treatment for frozen shoulder depends on the underlying cause. If it is due to a recent surgery, then a physiotherapist may help improve mobility through exercises. If it is due to a broken bone then a cast may be used for joining the bone. For mild symptoms a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication may be applied externally on the affected area followed by hot fomentation. Severe cases may require shoulder surgery to loosen some tissue around the joint.
DID YOU KNOW?
The condition is more common in people in the age group of 40 to 60 years.
What is frozen shoulder? This question generally arises when dealing with a stiff shoulder or some shoulder pain. A frozen shoulder, which is also called adhesive capsulitis, results when the capsule of the shoulder tightens or thickens up. It generally causes pain and hinders the movement of the shoulder. The onset of this condition is very slow and the healing process takes time as well. Certain cases of frozen shoulder take about a year to heal completely.
Essentially symptoms of frozen shoulder occur in 3 specific stages-
1. Freezing stage- being the initial stage, it can cause great pain and discomfort. Shoulder stiffness starts during this stage.
2. Frozen stage- the freezing stage is followed by the frozen stage, in which, although the pain tends to become less, the stiffness of the shoulder makes it very difficult to move.
3. Thawing stage- at this stage, the shoulder movement returns gradually.
If you suffer from shoulder pain and stiffness, you may consider them as frozen shoulder symptoms, but such symptoms may also occur in case of a rotator cuff tear. Because rotator cuff symptoms and frozen shoulder symptoms are quite the same, it is essential that you visit the doctor and get diagnosed effectively.
Rotator cuff tear affects the rotator cuff muscles of the shoulder. 4 muscles in total form the rotator cuff, they are-
4. Teres minor
Frozen shoulder causes and causes of rotator cuff problems are also quite similar. So instance-
• Age can lead to any of the two conditions
• Chronic diseases like diabetes and arthritis can also affect the shoulder joints
• A sports injury or accident too can result in frozen shoulder or rotator cuff tear.
While frozen shoulder is more common in women than in men, rotator cuff tear tends to affect athletes who play baseball, badminton and tennis.
The diagnoses of frozen shoulder and rotator cuff conditions involve certain tests, which your doctor may recommend during your first visit. These tests may include an X-ray of the shoulder or an MRI. Once the tests are done and the condition is diagnosed specific treatment is recommended. Frozen shoulder treatment involves a course of medicines, which is generally accompanied with some physical therapy. Exercise of the shoulder is very important in full recovery. Exercise will help reduce the stiffness of the affected shoulder so one can regain normal movement.
In case the condition is too severe and complicated a frozen shoulder surgery may be suggested by your doctor. These days’ doctors generally opt for arthroscopy, a minimally invasive procedure of the shoulder that is highly effective.
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