Regularly Use Your Affected Arm
Keeping your arm and shoulder idle will not help with the healing process. Resting these parts all the time will only worsen your condition.
One of the most common causes of a frozen shoulder is reduced or total immobility, which may be due to factors like a broken arm, stroke, recovery from surgery, or a shoulder injury. As you keep your arm and shoulder immobile, the capsule that encases the joint thickens and tightens.
On the other hand, if you perform gentle exercises as prescribed by your doctor or therapist, you can improve your shoulders strength and range of motion.
How Frozen Shoulder Occurs In The Shoulder Joint
Keep in mind that the shoulder joint capsule is part of a ball-and-socket joint. Frozen shoulder, also called adhesive capsulitis, occurs when adhesions form and become inflamed in the shoulder capsule.
The shoulder capsule is strong connective tissue that can thicken and prevent a full range of motion because it stops synovial fluid from lubricating the region. Another consequence is that the rounded head of the humerus, called the upper arm bone, is pulled further into its socket, thereby changing the length of the arm.
While you will find a lot of different opinions about the causes of frozen shoulder, the specialists at World Frozen Shoulder believe that the condition can be caused by one of the following:
- Lower Neck Disc Conditions
- Hormonal Imbalance
- Shoulder Injury
If you have shoulder pain, consult with us to ensure that your shoulder doesnt get worse. You shouldnt have to suffer through pain and stiffness when there is a cure.
When Is Surgery Indicated
If the above program does not improve the range of motion and decrease the pain, then surgery may be indicated. After the patient has had a general or regional anesthetic, the physician may manipulate the shoulder in the operating room to break down the scarring. Occasionally, an arthroscope is used to directly cut or release the capsular adhesions. Most patients begin physical therapy the same day of the manipulation or the following day.
Other operations, such as the removal of spurs, may also be indicated or required at the time of the manipulation. These operations can sometimes be done with the arthroscope, but may require one or two larger incisions around the shoulder .
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How Is A Frozen Shoulder Diagnosed
If you feel stiffness and pain in your shoulder, see your doctor. A physical exam will help to assess your range of motion. Your doctor will observe as you perform specific movements and measure range of motion of the shoulder, such as touching your opposite shoulder with your hand.
A few tests may also be necessary. Your doctor might do a magnetic resonance imaging scan to rule out a tear in your rotator cuff or other pathology. X-rays may also be taken to check for arthritis or other abnormalities. You may need an arthrogram for the X-ray, which involves injecting dye into your shoulder joint so that the doctor can see its structure.
You can leave a frozen shoulder untreated, but the pain and stiffness can remain for up to three years. A combination of the following can speed up your recovery:
- physical therapy
- home care
What Can Physical Therapists Do To Treat Frozen Shoulder
Physical therapy is one of the first-line treatment options for adhesive capsulitis. In most cases, a physical therapist will create a therapy plan for you that contains multiple techniques. Some of the techniques your therapy plan may use are:
- Therapeutic exercises that can help ease stiffness and pain.
- Joint mobilization designed to improve the mobility and range of motion of your shoulder joint.
- Graston Technique® intended to break up myofascial trigger points that form in muscles around the joint.
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What Causes Frozen Shoulder 9 Potential Causes
Some common, and uncommon, frozen shoulder causes are listed below. But even if you dont fit the criteria described here, your shoulder can still freeze. As mentioned previously, the science behind frozen shoulder syndrome is still very much a mystery. If you think you may be suffering from this condition, talk to your doctor.
Treatment For Frozen Shoulder
Broadly, treatment works in 3 main steps:
You may get a mix of these treatments depending on how painful and stiff your shoulder is.
Stronger pain relief is usually only used for a short time because it can cause side effects.
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When To Be Concerned About Shoulder Pain
It can take some time for shoulder pain to settle, perhaps weeks or months. In general, if your shoulder pain has not begun to settle in a week or two, or if it worsens over time, then it may be worthwhile seeing an experienced doctor or health practitioner.
If you find that you need stronger medication to manage your shoulder pain, discuss this with your doctor. You may need a referral to a specialist.
Note: Shoulder pain or discomfort around the front of one or both of the shoulders can be a sign of a heart attack. It is often described as an ache, heaviness or pressure sensation spreading from the chest to the shoulders. This requires immediate medical attention. Call 000 immediately if you are experiencing these symptoms.
What Are The Symptoms Of A Frozen Shoulder
You become aware of a frozen shoulder when it begins to hurt. The pain then causes you to limit your movement. Moving the shoulder less and less increases its stiffness. Before long, you find that you cant move your shoulder as you once did. Reaching for an item on a high shelf becomes difficult, if not impossible. When its severe, you might not be able to do everyday tasks that involve shoulder movement such as dressing.
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Stretching Exercises For Frozen Shoulder
Always warm up your shoulder before performing your exercises. The best way to do that is to take a warm shower or bath for 10 to 15 minutes. You can also use a moist heating pad or damp towel heated in the microwave, but it may not be as effective.
In performing the following exercises, stretch to the point of tension but not pain.
Pendulum stretch. Perform this exercise first. Relax your shoulders. Stand and lean over slightly, allowing your affected arm to hang down. Swing the arm in a small circle about a foot in diameter. Perform 10 revolutions in each direction, once a day. As your symptoms improve, increase the diameter of your swing, but never force it. When you’re ready for more, increase the stretch by holding a light weight in the swinging arm.
Towel stretch. Grasp a three-foot-long towel with both hands behind your back, and hold it in a horizontal position. Use your good arm to pull the affected arm upward to stretch it. You can also perform an advanced version of this exercise with the towel draped over your good shoulder. Grasp the bottom of the towel with the affected arm and pull it toward the lower back with the unaffected arm. Do this 10 to 20 times a day.
Cross-body reach. Sit or stand. Use your good arm to lift your affected arm at the elbow, and bring it up and across your body, exerting gentle pressure to stretch the shoulder. Hold the stretch for 15 to 20 seconds. Do this 10 to 20 times per day.
Rotator Cuff Tear Vs Frozen Shoulder: There’s A Difference
More often than not, you never realize how much you move your shoulder every day until you feel some pain or you are unable to move the shoulder at all. Many shoulder conditions may lead to reduced range of motion, pain, and stiffness in the shoulder. Such problems do not necessarily occur following traumatic injuries. Often times, they occur over a long time from overuse and repetitive motions. Rotator cuff tears, frozen shoulder, and shoulder impingement are some of the most common conditions that shoulder orthopedic surgeons in Atlanta treat every day.
These conditions are commonly confused, especially the frozen shoulder and rotator cuff tear. The following information will provide you with insight into the two conditions to detail their differences.
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Arthritis And Other Inflammatory Conditions
Arthritis is a painful condition that causes inflamed, stiff joints. It is very common, with over 100 types that affect over 54 million adults in the United States. If it affects the shoulder, arthritis can increase your risk of frozen shoulder syndrome. Your chances of developing arthritis increase with age, but some kinds of arthritis affect even children.
Arthritis is not the only chronic condition that leads to joint stiffness and swelling. Fibromyalgia, lupus, polycythemia vera, and others can affect the shoulders. This in turn increases your chances of developing frozen shoulder syndrome.
The three non-arthritis conditions listed in this section have joint pain in common, but each feels quite different in other respects.
Lupus is a disorder in which your autoimmune system attacks healthy tissue rather than harmful entities like viruses. This leads to a whole host of health problems, including joint stiffness, fevers, depression and anxiety, and poor circulation.
Polycythemia vera is a rare bone cancer characterized by fevers, vertigo, headaches, weight loss, and other symptoms.
Panther Pt Can Help Treat Your Frozen Shoulder
Are you feeling what frozen shoulder pain is like? Panther Physical Therapy has a top-notch team that is ready and willing to help you treat your frozen shoulder symptoms. Our specialists can do a free screening of your shoulder to pinpoint which stage your shoulder is in. Next, we can construct a physical therapy plan thats unique to your specific needs.
Contact our team today for more information about what we can do for your adhesive capsulitis or to schedule your initial appointment.
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What Are The Early Signs Of A Frozen Shoulder
You definitely want to treat the frozen shoulder early so that it doesnt freeze completely, leaving you with little ability to move your arm. Following are early signs of the condition:
- Pain in your shoulder any time you try to move it
- Stiffness that makes it difficult to move your shoulder
- Pain in the upper arm
- Unable to sleep on the side with shoulder pain
- Difficulty sleeping
What Is Frozen Shoulder Pain
The shoulder joint is a ball and socket joint. There is a layer of connective tissue surrounding the joint. Normally, this capsule is quite loose and allows for the shoulder joint to move freely.
With frozen shoulder pain, the capsule becomes inflammed and tight resulting in joint stiffness, pain and limited range of motion.
It is common after significant trauma to the shoulder or an injury to the neck resulting in an injury to neural structures. Frozen shoulder pain may also occur spontaneously . Although It may happen spontaneously, there are risk factors and medical conditions associated with frozen shoulder such as:
- Age 40 60
- Women are four times more likely than men
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What Can Be Done About Frozen Shoulder
Although Frozen Shoulder should get better on its own, it is important to use the shoulder as much as possible . This is the prevent further deterioration of the condition.
It may be tempting to immobilise the arm or stop using it, but by limiting use of the arm, it will further increase stiffness of the shoulder.
During the freezing or early phase, the goals are to reduce inflammation, manage pain and learn more about their condition. Treatment may include gentle range of motion , strengthening of shoulder muscles, and soft tissue work or physical modalities to deal with pain and stiffness. It is important to address problems that arise secondarily as a result of frozen shoulder, such as neck pain, and general deconditioning.
During the frozen and thawing phase, more intensive shoulder mobility and strength exercises can be implemented to regain range of motion limitations and function to the shoulder.
What Are The Treatments For Frozen Shoulder
Treatment usually involves pain relief methods until the initial phase passes. If the problem persists, therapy and surgery may be needed to regain motion if it doesnt return on its own.
Some simple treatments include:
- Hot and cold compresses. These help reduce pain and swelling.
- Medicines that reduce pain and swelling. These include nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs , such as ibuprofen , and acetaminophen . Other painkiller/anti-inflammatory drugs may be prescribed by your doctor. More severe pain and swelling may be managed by steroid injections. A corticosteroid, such as cortisone, is injected directly into the shoulder joint.
- Physical therapy. Stretching and range of motion exercises taught by a physical therapist.
- Home exercise program. Continue exercise program at home.
- Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation . Use of a small battery-operated device that reduces pain by blocking nerve impulses.
If these simple treatments have not relieved pain and shoulder stiffness after about a year trial, other procedures may be tried. These include:
These two procedures are often used together to get better results.
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What Is Frozen Shoulder Symptoms Treatment And A Possible Pandemic Connection
Sarah Noll Wilson started feeling the sharp pain in her right shoulder last July any time she would try to reach her arm behind her. It got to the point where it was like take-your-breath-away pain, said Noll Wilson, 40, of Des Moines. I knew it wasnt right, but because it would only happen at certain times at that point, I didnt think it was as serious as it was.
That pain, Noll Wilson later came to learn, marked the beginning of a condition that would disrupt her life for months: frozen shoulder.
It was really debilitating for a long time, said Noll Wilson, who struggled to do basic activities such as washing her hair, getting dressed or sleeping comfortably because of her shoulder.
Noll Wilson isnt alone. Frozen shoulder, also called adhesive capsulitis, is estimated to occur in about 2 to 5 percent of the U.S. population, according to the American Physical Therapy Association. Although the exact causes of frozen shoulder arent known, some shoulder specialists say theyve seen an increase in cases among their patients over the past year and a half that may be connected to the pandemic.
Heres what Fu and other experts say you need to know about spotting frozen shoulder, what to expect if youre diagnosed and possible treatment options.
What Does Frozen Shoulder Feel Like
Frozen shoulder typically presents itself as pain and stiffness in the shoulder. Depending on progression of the condition, the severity of the symptoms will vary. A person with frozen shoulder may have difficulty with daily living, work, and leisure activities such as:
- reaching overhead
- reaching across: fastening seatbelt
- rotation of the shoulder
They may also experience neck pain due to the overuse of neck muscles to compensate for the lack of shoulder range of motion.
There are 3 overlapping phases that typically occur during the progression of frozen shoulder.
These phases typically occur over a 1 to 3 year period. In general, frozen shoulder is a self limiting
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Shoulder Pain Is Not Ideal But Knowing Exactly What Youre Dealing With Is Key
I had no idea that I was experiencing a frozen shoulder. The first time an electric jolt of pain shot down my right arm from my shoulder, I was reaching behind my back to tuck in my shirt. It felt like a lightning bolt zapping me for 20 seconds.
A few days later, it happened again this time, I slipped in ski boots and flung my arm up to catch myself. I immediately doubled over from searing pain caused by the sudden movement. At the same time, my range of motion was slowly decreasing. Everyday tasks like styling hair, putting on a fitted shirt and reaching for top-shelf pantry items were becoming more difficult.
My shoulder had been acting funny for months weirdly loose, clicking upon rotation and sore at night if I slept on my right side. I could no longer ignore the fact that something was wrong. X-rays and an ultrasound came back with no sign of obvious injury, yet the pain and stiffening still persisted. Eventually, my family doctor referred me to a sports-medicine specialist, who made a quick diagnosis after testing my range of motion and strength: frozen shoulder.
What Is The Main Cause Of Frozen Shoulder
The shoulder is a ball and socket joint. Like cupping one hand around your other fist. The rounded arm bone rests in a nook formed by the curved bones of the shoulder. Your body also makes lubrication, called synovial fluid. It sits between the two bones to keep the arm moving smoothly.
We don’t know exactly why frozen shoulder happens. But most experts think it’s either from scar tissue forming in the shoulder or inflammation in the shoulder.
Either way, this forces the tissue around the shoulder joint to get thicker and tighter. There’s less room for movement and less lubrication. So movement becomes stiff and painful.
The shoulder joint normally provides some of the greatest range of motion of any joint in the human body. This allows our arm to go in many different positions to perform typical activities of daily living such as reaching overhead, putting on clothes, brushing our teeth, and washing our hair. Dr. Schwartz
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