How to treat a frozen shoulder

November 12, 2012

How to treat a frozen shoulder

The first reaction of many when feeling a pain in the upper arm or shoulder is a presumption that you must have slept on it funny. When it is still there in the afternoon, it was encourage worrying thoughts in the back of your mind worrying whether it is the beginning of arthritis or another serious joint condition. For many however, it turns out to be a condition known as frozen shoulder. It is known to come on suddenly with a flash of pain, followed by loss of movement and requiring a long recovery period. The condition, which in the past has also gone under the name adhesive capsulitis tends to affect people between the ages of 40 and 60 with about 70% of patients being female. Frozen shoulder also appears to be more common in people with diabetes and is one of the most frequent conditions that orthopaedic surgeons see in women in during their midlife. It is thought be caused by inflamed shoulder joints that gradually become stuck under hard scar tissue that gradually surround the joint. There are 3 stages to frozen shoulder and the recovery process. First of all there will begin to be a pain in the shoulder. It will get worse over time and is often worse at night, causing so much pain that the sufferer is unable to sleep. This frozen shoulder pain last around three months. The second stage is continued to pain and eventual stiffening of the shoulder. It will become increasingly difficult and even impossible to do overhead movements such as brushing your hair or putting dishes away in overhead cupboards. This may last as long as nine months. In the third and final stage the frozen shoulder will finally begin to thaw. In many cases the pain has gone by this stage but the stiffness is still present and will very gradually loosen up over a period of up to 13 months. All of that time added together and thatÂ’s around 2 years of your life spent suffering with a painful and stiff shoulder. It was very common in the past for doctors to not pay much attention to patients complaining of a frozen shoulder. They would dismiss the condition advising the patient that it would get better in its own time. Times have changed however and these days its likely that patients will be given a shot or two of cortisone in the frozen shoulder. These injections are thought to reduce pain and even speed up the recovery process according to new research. One patient had been suffering from frozen shoulder for around 7 months. It was stiff to the extent that she could no longer use her arm for anything; she even had to use her good arm in order to left the affected arm. After a single shot of cortisone and two months of physical therapy the patient was able to lift her arm above her head and use her arm like normal.

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