The shoulder is composed of three main bones forming a ball-and-socket joint. These bones are the collarbone (clavicle), upper arm bone (humerus), and shoulder blade (scapula). What holds these bones together is a section of strong connective tissue called the shoulder capsule.
When a person has frozen shoulder, the shoulder capsule is inflamed. The tissue becomes thickened, and it feels tight – not as easy to move as before. Let’s talk about frozen shoulder and what can be done to give you back the movability of your shoulder.
How Does Frozen Shoulder Happen?
Also called adhesive capsulitis, frozen shoulder is when the shoulder has extremely limited range of motion and is painful to move. There is a substantial possibility of developing frozen shoulder when you have had surgery or a medical condition that prohibited you from moving your arm for a while, such as after having a mastectomy or suffering a stroke. Diabetes can also be a contributing factor.
Symptoms of This Shoulder Condition
The symptoms of frozen shoulder are categorized into three main phases. Each phase has its timeline and unique symptoms:
The freezing stage is when your shoulder’s movability becomes limited, because you experience pain every time you move the shoulder. The pain gets worse as the weeks pass by, and the condition can feel worse during the nighttime. The freezing stage usually lasts up to nine months.
Your shoulder might actually hurt less during this stage, but it becomes stiffer and even less movable than before. The frozen stage can take anywhere from four months to a year.
This stage is when your range of motion goes back to normal and you begin to feel less and less pain in your shoulder.
Treatment of Frozen Shoulder
The goal of treatment for a frozen shoulder is to preserve mobility and alleviate pain. There are several ways to accomplish this, including the following:
- Painkillers, such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen
- Corticosteroid injections into the shoulder to reduce swelling and pain
- Shoulder manipulation, wherein the doctor moves the shoulders forcefully while the patient is under general anesthesia
- Physical therapy with different types of exercises to maintain the flexibility and mobility of the shoulder
Orthopedic Surgeons in South Texas
A frozen shoulder requires a long recovery time. Anyone experiencing this kind of injury or chronic shoulder pain should consult a musculoskeletal medical expert to determine what type of treatment might work best for their own body.
Our experienced team at the Center for Orthopaedic Surgery and Sports Medicine can help you address these kinds of health issues with our world-class doctors and the latest orthopedic techniques. Our comprehensive facility offers many services and tests in-house, including X-rays, ultrasound, casting, and pain-relief injections. Our orthopedic surgeons perform full joint reconstruction of the knee, shoulder, and hip, and we also perform hand surgery.
Contact us today by calling (210) 692-7400 or fill out our appointment request form online. We look forward to serving you and helping you get back to the active lifestyle you enjoy!