If you are over 40, it’s quite likely you or somebody you know have suffered from a frozen shoulder. Well, according to a survey, more than 72% of people over 40 suffer from frozen shoulder pain.
Frozen shoulder, also known as adhesive capsulitis, is a medical condition occurs when your shoulder joint stiffens and swells leading to severe pain, and/or completely frozen shoulder movements. This usually makes daily activities like reaching for a cup of coffee, getting dressed or merely switching on the light a lot painful. Over time, this condition worsens if not treated timely and the stiffness may reach a point where range of movements becomes extremely limited.
Causes of Frozen Shoulder and It’s Pain Solution
Who is most at risk?
It’s still not clear why this problem occurs, but there are certain factors that may increase your chances of developing this problem. Some of these factors are mentioned below:
- Gender and Age
As mentioned earlier, the age group of 40 to 60 is usually at high risk simply because they have low bone density and immune system. Also, women have higher chances of developing this problem as compared to men.
- Previous shoulder surgery or minor injury
If you ever had an arm or shoulder injury such as minor accident or fracture, you may develop frozen shoulder pain. This may be because of keeping your shoulder or arm in one position for a longer period of time while recovering from the injury or surgery. Thus, it is always recommended to seek medical advice at the earliest.
Immobility is another common cause of exposing your shoulder to this medical condition. You drastically increase your chances of suffering from shoulder pain if you don’t make any arm or shoulder movements. This usually results from spending too much time in recovery.
Diabetic patients also have high risk of getting shoulder pain, though the major reason is still unknown. In fact, it is estimated that diabetic patients are twice as likely to suffer. Moreover, if you are diabetic, finding the right frozen shoulder pain solution would be harder and difficult. Thus, make sure you get your diabetes checked on a regular basis and keep it in control with the accurate treatments.
- Other shoulder conditions
Various other shoulder conditions like calcific tendonitis, where chunks of calcium are stored in the shoulder tendons, and rotator cuff (pair of muscles that control the movements of shoulder) tear can also increase your chances of suffering from frozen should pain.
- Other health conditions
You may also have higher risk of developing this problem if you already suffer from other health conditions such as
- Lung disease
- Heart disease
- An underactive or overactive thyroid
- Dupuytren’s contracture – where small chunks of swelled tissue are deposited in the hand, provoking fingers to bend into the palm.
- Breast cancer
What are the Symptoms of frozen shoulder?
There are basically two main symptoms of a frozen shoulder pain – persistent pain and stiffness, which makes it hard to do everyday chores.
Symptoms differ from mild, with little stiffness in the shoulder, to severe, where it becomes difficult to do any movement in your shoulder at all.
The condition basically develops gradually and there are three main stages of frozen shoulder pain symptoms, though sometimes it becomes difficult to distinguish between these stages. Each stage usually lasts a month or 2.
Stage one: Also known as Freezing stage
In the first stage, the shoulder begins to ache and become hurtful when carrying out everyday chores.
The problem worsens at night when you try to lay on the affected side. The freezing phase can last somewhere between 2 to 9 months.
Stage Two: Also known as Frozen stage
The frozen stage begins when the stiffness of your shoulder starts to increase drastically. Fortunately, the pain does not always worsen and might even reduce.
The muscles of your shoulder might even start to corrode lightly since there is no movement in them. Expect this phase to last around 4 to 12 months.
Stage Three: Also known as thawing stage
In the third stage i.e. thawing stage, the patient starts to regain some movement in his/her shoulder slowly. You may feel the pain is gone, though you may occasionally suffer from it as the stiffness eases.
Also, you may not be able to completely regain full movement in your shoulder, but everyday chores like sleeping, driving, dressing and bathing will become quite easy to perform. It may last few months to many years.
Frozen shoulder pain solution: what you can do about it?
If you think you have developed a frozen shoulder pain, or suffering from stiffness or persistent pain, it’s time to consult your general practitioner. People often overlook the pain considering it occasional problem or try to prevent it with over-the-counter medications. However, frozen shoulder pain is a serious problem and shouldn’t be ignored. Timely diagnosis and treatment might save you from long-term pain and stiffness in the shoulder.
Your general practitioner studies your symptoms to know the stage of your condition. This helps him/her to prescribe you the right frozen shoulder pain solution.
Diagnosis of Frozen Shoulder Pain:
A physical and symptoms examination is most likely to be used to diagnose frozen shoulder. The condition’s severity is examined by a basic test in which your GP will press and move few parts of the shoulder and arm. Your GP may recommend an X-Ray or MRI test to identify any structural problem.
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Frozen shoulder Treatment
If your condition is severe, you definitely be looking for the right frozen should pain solution. But let me clarify one thing first, shoulder pain solution depends heavily on the severity and the stage of your condition.
Here are some of the treatments your GP would recommend you:
- Medications: In order to relieve your frozen should pain, you may be prescribed over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen and aspirin. These medicines help lower your shoulder inflammation and pain. In certain cases, stronger medicines such as Acetaminophen are prescribed.
- Hot or cold compression packs: Using either hot or cold compression packs (as recommended by the GP) help lower swelling and pain of your frozen shoulder. You may also be recommended to alternate between these two packs.
- Physical therapy or physiotherapy: Visiting a physical therapist to learn few exercises to preserve as much flexibility and mobility of your frozen shoulder without stressing the joint too much can help reduce your frozen shoulder pain Physiotherapy is certainly the best frozen shoulder pain solution often recommended by many general practitioners.
- Surgical and other treatments: Though many patients get better on their own within few months, in some cases following treatments are suggested:
- Shoulder Manipulation – It involves a simpler procedure where you are given a general anesthetic. When you are unconscious and your shoulder is numb, the doctor manipulates your shoulder by moving it in different directions. This helps loosen the stiff muscles and tissues in your frozen shoulder.
- Steriod Injections – Yet another popular frozen shoulder pain solution that involves injecting corticosteroids into your shoulder joint. This usually enhances your shoulder movement and lowers the pain. It is often suggested in the early phases of the condition.
- Surgery – Surgery is suggested when nothing else works. In surgery, adhesions and scar tissues are removed from your shoulder joint with tubular, lighted instruments.