Frozen shoulder is the name of the condition in which one of the shoulders becomes stiff and painful. It is a chronic condition that tends to get worse over time.
The shoulder joint is whats known as a ball and socket joint, which means it has a great amount of movement. Frozen shoulder is a condition that generally occurs in people who do not get enough exercise sedentary and the shoulder joint begins to suffer from a lack of movement. The stiffness and pain caused by frozen shoulder will eventually lead to disability of the joint and it will become practically unusable. It generally effects people later on in life but is also commonly associated with diabetes, when it is more likely to affect both shoulders rather than one.
The primary symptoms of frozen shoulder as already mentioned are pain and stiffness isolated to the affected shoulder. The pain may first occur when moving the arm in a specific direction, such as reaching for something above the head or reaching behind the back. One of the distinguishing characteristics of frozen shoulder is that there will not only be no movement when the affected individual attempts to move the arm but it will also not move when someone else attempts to move it.
A doctor will begin by ruling other possibilities before diagnosing frozen shoulder. They may also need the help of certain tests such as X-rays, blood tests and MRI or CT scans. X-rays are sued to rule out any kind of bone fracture, dislocation or arthritis that may be the root cause of the pain and discomfort. Blood sugar tests may be done in order to rule out diabetes and an MRI or CT scan can be used to check for other conditions such as osteoporosis.
Once frozen shoulder has been diagnosed treatment can be started. Painkillers are often used along with some motion exercises that the patient should perform on a regular basis. This may start of as a painful exercise but if continues regularly patients will see an improvement. It is also important not to begin to skip performing the exercises once you start to feel better as the condition can begin to deteriorate again. Some people find that its best to start the exercises a week or so after starting a course of painkillers so that they have fully kicked in and are effective at relieving the pain.
When the above treatment proves ineffective the shoulder may require manipulation to forcibly break the adhesions that have formed in the joint. This is most common in people with diabetes as it is linked to poorly controlled blood sugar levels.