Frozen shoulder syndrome is also known as Adhesive Capsulitis. Due to frozen shoulder you may have severe pain in your shoulder joint along with restricted movements of the joint. Your shoulder joint consists of the head of the humerus articulating with the glenoid cavity of the scapula. It is covered by a capsule. In adhesive Capsulitis the capsule becomes inflamed and this hampers the movement of the bones within the joint. The most common cause of frozen shoulder is lack of movements of the joint and old age. You might be at a special risk to develop this condition if you are suffering from diabetes and more so if your blood sugar levels are not well controlled.
The most common symptoms that you may complain of are pain in the shoulder joint, difficulty in moving your shoulder, pain accompanied with most movements of the joint and stiffness. The earliest symptom of frozen shoulder syndrome is pain in the shoulder joint which prevents you from moving your joint, which leads to stiffness and a further decrease in the movement of your joint. Certain activities will be difficult like raising your arm above your head, difficulty in combing your hair, scrubbing your back, carrying weights and swinging your shoulder joint.
If you have any such symptoms it is best that you visit your doctor. The doctor will diagnose your condition based on your symptoms and examination of your joint. He may advise you to take an x ray of your shoulder joint to rule out arthritis and other similar problems. He may or may not advise an MRI to confirm the diagnosis.
Frozen shoulder Treatment: For pain the doctor will prescribe non steroidal anti inflammatory medications like Ibuprofen and acetaminophen. Physiotherapy is the most important. The physiotherapist will teach you shoulder mobilisation exercises which you must do daily. You may also be given short wave diathermy locally for a few days in order to decrease the pain. You might take 6 to 9 months to recover completely. If you suffer from diabetes the healing process might take up to 1 year and it is important that you keep your blood sugars under good control. Some surgeons may give you pain blocks in order that you can continue physiotherapy without much discomfort.
Some doctors might suggest local steroid injections into the shoulder joint. This seems to reduce the pain and inflammation. However the long term benefits of this treatment cannot be guaranteed. In fact there may be many local joint and bone complications after this procedure due to steroids.
Surgery is recommended in few cases of frozen shoulder where conservative treatment is not effective. Shoulder arthroscopy is the recommended procedure, which is done under anaesthesia. With the help of an Arthroscope the surgeon will be able to cut through the scar tissue and the clear up the debris within the joint. Arthroscopy can also help loosen the tight ligaments and thus your shoulder joint will be able to regain full range of movement.
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