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Frozen Shoulder: Not Related to the Windchill

1/20/15 4:43 PM
What is a Frozen Shoulder?

  • Otherwise known as "Adhesive Capsulitis," is a condition in which your shoulder will feel stiff and painful, especially when moving it.
  • Signs and symptoms often start gradually over time, then worsening before getting better.
  • The bones, ligaments and tendons that make up your shoulder are covered by a fibrous type material. A Frozen Shoulder occurs when this material gets thick and tightens around the shoulder - preventing normal type movements.

How does it happen?

The exact cause of Adhesive Capsulitis is unknown, but certain factors can increase your risk of developing a Frozen Shoulder:
  • Age and Sex.   People over 40, especially women are more likely to experience symptoms.
  • Non-use.    After prolonged immobility, such as after a shoulder surgery or injury.
  • Systemic diseases.  Such as with diabetes, thyroid issues and heart disease.

So what are the symptoms?

The main symptoms are pain, stiffness, and loss of range of motion. These develop slowly and in three stages. Each of these below stages can last a number of months...
  • Painful Stage.    During this stage, pain occurs with any movement of your shoulder and your shoulder's range of motion starts to become limited.
  • Frozen Stage.    Pain may begin to diminish during this stage; however, your shoulder becomes stiffer, and your range of motion decreases significantly.
  • Thawing Stage.    During this stage, the range of motion in your shoulder begins to improve.

What are the possible treatment options?

  • Over the counter anti-inflammatory medication
  • Steroid injections
  • Surgery
  • Physical Therapy.  A physical therapist will instruct you on a course of treatment that will help maintain as much mobility in your shoulder as possible through stretching exercises. A therapist can also help to control pain and gain as much shoulder strength and range of motion as possible.

Topics: shoulder, pain between shoulder blades, shoulder pain