Frozen shoulder, medically known as adhesive capsulitis, is a condition characterized by stiffness and pain in the shoulder joint. Over time, the shoulder becomes very hard to move, as if it’s “frozen” in place. This condition typically affects one shoulder at a time, though some people may eventually experience it in the opposite shoulder.
At Alliance Orthopedics, we recognize the challenges posed by frozen shoulder and are dedicated to offering comprehensive care to help patients regain mobility and reduce discomfort.
Causes of Frozen Shoulder
The exact cause of frozen shoulder is not fully understood, but it’s believed to involve thickening and tightening of the capsule surrounding the shoulder joint. This results in a decrease in the synovial fluid that keeps the joint lubricated. Factors that may contribute to this condition include:
- Prolonged immobility or reduced mobility of the shoulder, often due to surgery, injury, or illness.
- Certain diseases, such as diabetes or cardiovascular diseases, which can increase the risk of developing frozen shoulder.
Several factors can increase an individual’s likelihood of developing frozen shoulder. These include:
- Age: People between the ages of 40 and 60 are more likely to experience frozen shoulder.
- Gender: Women are more commonly affected than men.
- Medical conditions: Individuals with diabetes, thyroid problems, cardiovascular disease, or Parkinson’s disease have a higher risk of developing frozen shoulder.
Symptoms of Frozen Shoulder
Frozen shoulder typically develops in three stages, each with its own set of symptoms:
- Freezing stage: Gradual onset of shoulder pain that worsens over time and restricts shoulder movement.
- Frozen stage: Pain may begin to diminish, but the shoulder becomes stiffer, and its range of motion is significantly limited.
- Thawing stage: The range of motion in the shoulder begins to improve.
Diagnosing Frozen Shoulder
At Alliance Orthopedics, the diagnosis of frozen shoulder involves a thorough evaluation. Our team will begin by understanding your symptoms and medical history. A physical examination will follow, where our specialists assess the range of motion and pain in your shoulder.
To rule out other conditions and confirm the diagnosis, we may recommend imaging tests such as X-rays or an MRI to visualize the shoulder’s structures.
The treatment for frozen shoulder focuses on relieving pain and restoring the shoulder’s normal range of motion. Treatment options include:
- Physical or occupational therapy: Specific exercises can help increase the range of motion in your shoulder.
- Steroid injections: Injecting corticosteroids into the shoulder joint can provide relief from severe pain.
- Surgery: In cases where conservative treatments don’t provide relief, surgery may be an option to remove scar tissue and adhesions from inside the shoulder joint.
At Alliance Orthopedics, our commitment is to provide world-class care for your frozen shoulder, guiding you through each stage of recovery and helping you regain mobility and comfort.