Do you find it hard to move one or both of your shoulders? Do you feel pain and stiffness? If you are experiencing these symptoms, then you may have a condition called frozen shoulder.
This condition inhibits your shoulder movement, making it hard for you to perform activities like reaching up or carrying things. Let’s talk about what frozen shoulder is and how to treat it.
What Is Frozen Shoulder?
Frozen shoulder, also called adhesive capsulitis, occurs when the shoulder joint capsule becomes stiff, thick, and swollen. Although the causes of this condition are not fully understood, it has been found that age and gender play roles in its development.
Frozen shoulders are more common in women than in men, and between the ages of 40 and 60. Other factors that increase the risk of developing this condition are:
- Recent shoulder injury
- Parkinson’s disease
- Heart disease
What Can I Do for Frozen Shoulder?
If left untreated, frozen shoulder usually lasts from two to three years or even longer. Fortunately, there are treatment options available to manage the pain and to help regain mobility in the stiff shoulders. Some of these treatments include the following:
The primary home treatment for frozen shoulder is using a warm or cold compress. These can help relieve the pain in your shoulder joint.
Cold therapy helps to relieve swelling by actually minimizing blood flow to the area, so this should generally be used first. Heat therapy helps to facilitate blood flow to the injured or inflamed area, thereby reducing pain – so this can be used once the swelling has subsided.
Likewise, you can take over-the-counter pain relievers like aspirin and ibuprofen to manage the pain and inflammation caused by your frozen shoulder. Your doctor may also prescribe you with a stronger medication to relieve pain and reduce the swelling.
Your doctor may recommend physical therapy for your shoulder. A physical therapist will teach you shoulder exercises and stretches that you can do to help improve the mobility of your shoulders. Be sure to continue doing the exercises in order to help prevent the frozen shoulder from becoming worse.
Corticosteroids may be injected into your shoulder joint by your doctor to help manage the pain and improve shoulder movement.
Your orthopedic doctor may give you anesthesia and then move your shoulder in various directions to loosen the stiff joint. This is very effective in helping the joint capsule to be more flexible again.
If less-invasive therapies do not work to help relieve your pain and stiffness, your doctor may suggest that you undergo surgery. It will be done to remove the scar tissue and adhesions that are causing your frozen shoulder.
Shoulder surgery is typically done through arthroscopy. With the help of a small camera, your surgeon will make tiny incisions in the affected area and make perforations in the tight areas of the joint capsule.
Frozen Shoulder Treatment in San Antonio, Texas
Don’t let the pain and stiffness of frozen shoulder stop you from doing your daily activities. Our board-certified physicians at the Center for Orthopaedic Surgery and Sports Medicine are here to help you get back to enjoying life again.
You can reach us by calling us today at (210) 692-7400. You may also choose to skip the phone lines and request an appointment via our online form. We look forward to helping you “unfreeze” your frozen shoulder!