Frozen shoulder

Frozen shoulder, or adhesive capsulitis, is a painful condition where the shoulder joint loses its range of motion. In a healthy shoulder, the capsule surrounding the shoulder joint is only several mm thick and thus able to stretch and move as you move your arm. However, in frozen shoulder, this capsule thickens to over 1 cm becoming very stiff, reducing your ability to move.

Frozen Shoulder Causes

Unfortunately, the cause of frozen shoulder is still unknown. However, there are certain populations that are predisposed to this:

  • diabetes
  • a shoulder injury or shoulder surgery
  • women are more likely to experience this than men
  • other health conditions, such as heart disease and stroke
  • Dupuytren's contracture - a condition where small lumps of thickened tissue form in the hands and fingers

Frozen Shoulder Diagnosis & Treatment

Frozen shoulder is a slow progressive condition which can last from 18-36 months. There are three stages, the first being the freezing age where you slowly lose your shoulder mobility. Second is the frozen stage where your shoulder will remain stiff and painful. And finally the thawing stage, where you slowly regain your movements.

It is always best to seek a professional diagnosis in regards to frozen shoulder. Early intervention may help to reduce the severity of the condition. The overall aim of treatment is to maintain the mobility of the shoulder and reducing the pain. The types of treatment will vary based on the severity of your condition. Varying interventions from physiotherapy, to local injections and in some cases surgery are all possible treatment options.

If your shoulder is slowly becoming painful and stiff over a matter of several weeks, seek medical help.

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