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Frozen Shoulder

  • What is Frozen Shoulder?

    Frozen Shoulder (also called Adhesive Capsulitis) is a condition that results in loss of movement, and pain or stiffness in your shoulder. The pain and loss of movement can affect your daily activities.

  • There are two main categories of Frozen Shoulder:

    • Frozen Shoulder can occur with no obvious cause.
    • Inflammation causes parts of the capsule in the shoulder joint to become thickened and scarred. This reduces the volume of the shoulder joint, limiting the shoulder's ability to move and causing the shoulder to freeze.

    There are several risk factors for Frozen Shoulder:

    • Age older than 40 years
    • Endocrine Disorders such as Diabetes, Cardiac Disease, Thyroid problems, Parkinson's Disease, or if you have undergone surgery
    • Gender - Women are more at risk than men
    • Prolonged immobilisation of the shoulder after injury or pain that limits shoulder movement
  • The most obvious symptoms of Frozen Shoulder are shoulder pain and a limited range of movement in the shoulder.

    There are three stages of a Frozen Shoulder, namely:

    • Freezing stage (stage 1) — This is the painful stage and shoulder movement is limited; this stage normally lasts from 6 to 12 weeks
    • Frozen stage (stage 2) — The pain eases in this stage, but the stiffness remains; this stage generally lasts from 4 to 6 months
    • Thawing stage (stage 3) — In the final stage, the movement in the arm gradually improves; this stage can last more than 1 year
  • The aim of treatment of frozen shoulder is to control the pain and restore movement and strength. Treatments include:

    • Manipulation under anaesthesia to release the tightening and increase the range of movement
    • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to reduce pain and swelling
    • Physiotherapy to help to restore movement
    • Steroid injections to reduce inflammation and facilitate movement
    • Surgery to release the tight joint capsule
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