A frozen shoulder has nothing to do with ice! It’s simply a stiff and painful shoulder joint, which becomes hard to move. If you or an older member of the family is going through it, you must know about the recovery time and treatment.
The shoulder is made up of three bones which form a ball-and-socket joint consisting of upper arm (humerus), shoulder blade (scapula), and collarbone (clavicle). The tissues surrounding the shoulder joint are called the shoulder capsule.
Frozen shoulder, also known as Adhesive Capsulitis (AC), is a persistent and painful shoulder condition that lasts for more than 3 months. This inflammatory condition causes fibrosis in the glenohumeral joint capsule and is often characterized by gradually progressive stiffness and significant range of motion restriction (typically external rotation).
In case of a frozen shoulder, the shoulder capsule becomes very thick and stiff, hindering the overall movement. Moreover, scar tissue forms in the joint, and there is less lubrication due to lack of synovial fluid to keep it lubricated.
In most of the cases, recovery is achievable, even though it may take up to 1 to 2 years in some cases. Frozen shoulder develops gradually in three stages and each stage can last for several months.
Medical history, physical examination, and imaging modalities are used to make the clinical diagnosis of frozen shoulder (ruling out another condition, rather than confirming the diagnosis of AC). Although the etiology of the condition is not yet fully understood, certain risk factors can help in understanding the complication of this condition and enhance the treatment options. These include:
Also, read: Swear by these 7 exercises to boost your shoulder mobility
Non-surgical treatment options for Adhesive Capsulitis (AC) include pharmacological management and physiotherapy.
Physiotherapy is very important for pain control and restoration of normal shoulder mobility. In certain rare cases, if there is very little improvement, intervention methods like intra-articular injections, joint manipulation under anesthesia or shoulder arthroscopic surgeries are involved depending upon the medical requirement of the patient.
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