Fun picture of frozen shoulder

Frozen shoulder picture

Frozen Shoulder

Frozen shoulder can show as decreased movement and stiffness in the shoulder with pain when reaching out. Over the course of time, the shoulder ends up becoming very hard to move. This only occurs in around 2 percent of the population. Most of the time, it affects individuals who are between 40 and 60 years of age and often in women than it does with men.

One of the most common times to get frozen shoulder is following shoulder surgery. This is could be due to the extent of arthritis in the shoulder that needed to be “cleaned-out”, which causes trauma to the shoulder. The pain prevents movement in the shoulder which then leads to stiffness. The stiffness gets worse and within weeks the shoulder can be frozen solid.

As mentioned the age range usually varies from 40-60 years of age, especially those with certain medical conditions such as diabetes. Other issues after surgery involve the use of a sling which further contributes to a lack of mobility in the shoulder adding the risk of developing frozen shoulder (sometimes known as secondary

The pain comes from the joint capsule/ligaments and becomes inflamed and thickens, which then causes joint restriction.

The stages of Frozen Shoulder:

  • Inflammation of joint causing it to swell and thicken.
  • The reduced space in the shoulder joint now causes arm to rotate in its socket creating more pain and stiffness.
  • The lubricating fluid in the shoulder joint is decreased.

The 3 main stages:

  • Pain, decreased shoulder movement (Freezing).
  • Decrease pain, mainly stiffness (Frozen).
  • Movement in the shoulder and strength are normal (Thawing).

Not everyone needs surgery, there are other non-surgical treatments including injections and physical therapy.

Treatments available for Frozen Shoulder:

  • Anti-Inflammatory Medication
    Ibuprofen and aspirin can help to reduce swelling and pain. As the swelling decreases, the
    amount of pain that accompanies it will diminish as well. However many therapists discourage
    the use of anti-inflammatories because frozen shoulder takes a long time to resolve (often many
    months). It is advisable to discuss this with your GP or Pharmacist.
  • Steroid Injections
    Cortisone is a powerful form of an anti-inflammatory medication that can be injected directly into
    the shoulder joint.
  • High Volume Injection
    Sometimes called hydro dilatation, a high volume of saline and steroid are injected into the
    shoulder capsule with the intension of stretch the capsule from the tight adhesions.
  • Osteopathy
    Performing specific exercises can help to restore motion. This can be under the direct
    supervision of a trained Osteopath or performing them in the comfort of your own home. Therapy
    entails stretching and range of motion exercises for the shoulder joint. Osteopathy will also include some hands-on treatment consisting of a range of techniques. You can use a heat source
    or hot water bottle for loosening the shoulder before engaging in any stretching exercises.
    Some therapists might also use other modalities including acupuncture, electrotherapy, ice and heat
    treatment and ultrasound.
  • Surgery
    If your symptoms aren’t alleviated with therapy and using anti-inflammatory medication, you and
    your doctor can discuss surgery as an option.

More serious shoulder problems may require decompression surgery. It is important that you
discuss the potential for recovery using simple treatments, as well as the risks associated with
surgery. The goal of surgery for the condition is to stretch and release the joint capsule that is

Tips for frozen shoulder:

• Frozen shoulder tends to occur more often in those who have diabetes, affecting around 10 to 20
percent of individuals. The reason isn’t known at this time.
• Frozen shoulder often develops following a shoulder surgery that has left the joint immobilized
due to the surgery, fracture or other type of injury.
• Moving your shoulder soon after your surgery is one of the best methods for preventing frozen
• Pain is often aching or dull. During the early part of the disease, the pain tends to be worse when
you are able to move your arm. It is located over the outer part of the shoulder and into the
upper arm.
• Follow the exercise rehab plan from your therapist. Failure to do regular exercises will
significantly slow your recovery.

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Feel free to call us at:

Hazel Grove Osteopathic Surgery on 0161 483 6986 for appointments on Friday and Saturday. 302 London road, Hazel Grove, SK7 4RF.

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