What is frozen shoulder?

Frozen shoulder, also called adhesive capsulitis, causes pain and stiffness of the shoulder. Over time, the shoulder becomes very difficult to move.

This disorder affects the ligaments and capsule of the shoulder joint which becomes inflamed and thickens with scar tissue causing restriction of movement.

There is no known cause of this disorder. It can be triggered by minor injury but usually occurs for no reason. It most commonly affects people between the ages of 40 to 60, and occurs in women more often than men. It is also more common in people with diabetes, heart problems or thyroid disorders.

What are frozen shoulder symptoms?

The typical features are of pain in the upper arm (rather than just the shoulder itself) that is severe enough to disturb sleep. There often is pain even when resting. Initially, shoulder range of movement may not be affected but as time passes the shoulder becoming increasingly stiff and difficult to move. Rotational movements are worst affected such as reaching behind your back or behind your head.

What is frozen shoulder treatment?

Frozen shoulder generally improves over time, although it may take up to 2 years, or longer in extreme cases. The focus of treatment is to control pain and restore motion and strength through physiotherapy. Injections into the shoulder joint may also be effective.

When these measures do not help, the options include a manipulation of the shoulder joint by a shoulder surgeon under an anaesthetic or keyhole surgery (called arthroscopic capsular release). Commonly, both of these procedures are required at the same time to achieve maximal results.

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