Are you troubled due to frequent shoulder pain which makes hand and shoulder movement very painful?
Does this pain increase in the winters or in the night time?
have you ever searched for shoulder relief exercises?
Are you unable to sleep due to the excruciating shoulder pain?
In all probabilities, you must be suffering from a condition called frozen shoulder which affects a large number of people all over the world. In the medical field frozen shoulder is known as Adhesive Capsulitis.
Research reveals that every 2 out of 10 type 1 diabetics suffer from this problem and 1 out of 5 aged people are affected by this condition.
Though frozen shoulder may not appear to be very serious, the pain it causes is very frustrating.
The strangest thing about this affliction is that it can affect people of any age group from 14 years onwards.
In this article, I will be telling you about frozen shoulder causes, symptoms of frozen shoulder, and also the treatment for frozen shoulder pain as well.
What is Frozen Shoulder?
- It is a condition in which the shoulder joint becomes stiff.
- There is a sac of ligament around the shoulder joint called as a capsule which swells and becomes stiff.
- The mobility of the shoulder joint gets impaired and becomes immobile.
- In 90 % of the cases there is only left shoulder pain but in a few cases, it affects both the shoulders.
Frozen shoulder causes are not clear to us even today and it differs from individual to individual.
Common Frozen Shoulder Causes
- It is very common between the age group of 40-60 years.
- After a hip fracture, it is the second most common health problem of the elderlies.
- People of this age group are advised to be more active to prevent it.
- Women are more prone than men.
3. Shoulder Injury
- If you suffer from any shoulder injury, had met with an accident, or sustained a fracture, it is extremely likely that you will develop frozen shoulder.
- When you keep your arms stiff and straight for a long time, it leads to frozen shoulder.
- You must be aware that diabetes is a disorder that is characterized by high blood sugar levels.
- Glucose (Sugar) molecules readily adhere to collagen which is one of the building blocks of your ligaments and tendons. It helps to hold bones together in a joint.
- People with diabetes have abnormal deposits of this collagen in the cartilage and tendons of the shoulder.
- Due to this build-up, the affected shoulder becomes stiff and unable to move.
- Frozen shoulder can affect both type 1 diabetics and type 2 diabetics.
5. Other Health Conditions
There are high chances of your developing frozen shoulder if you have conditions such as:
- Cardiovascular diseases
- Lung disorders
- Thyroid disorders
6. Shoulder Problems
There are basically two types of shoulder complications:
- Calcific tendonitis – In this condition, small amounts of calcium gets deposited in the tendons of the shoulder.
- Rotator Cuff tear– Rotator cuff is a group of muscles that are responsible for controlling shoulder movements. When rotator cuff tear occurs the shoulder movements are drastically affected which could lead to frozen shoulder.
In a few medical conditions, you are not able to move or lift your arm. Such conditions lead to frozen shoulder due to the long term lack of movement.
Now that you know about frozen shoulder, let’s look at its symptoms and various stages of frozen shoulders.
Frozen Shoulder Symptoms
- Constant pain in the shoulders
- Persistent stiffness of the shoulder joint
- Difficult in doing routine activities like bathing, eating, or driving
- Unable to have a comfortable sleep
Frozen shoulder pain can be noticed in three stages.
- It is also called as freezing phase.
- It is a very painful phase wherein shoulder movement becomes very painful.
- You will find it very difficult to lift things.
- The condition can worsen at night time.
- This stage last for 2 months to 9 months.
- It is also called as frozen phase.
- In this phase, the stiffness of the shoulder will increase considerably.
- But strange as it may seem the pain will not increase but might decrease.
- Wasting of the muscle starts as the muscles are not used.
- This stage last for 4 to 12 months
- This is known as the thawing phrase.
- In this phase you will observe a little movement in your shoulder.
- The pain will gradually reduce.
- Pain will be observed now and then as the stiffness has come down.
- Though complete movement of the shoulder will not be regained, you will be able to perform your routine tasks.
Let’s put a glance into various shoulder pain remedies and some effective frozen shoulder relief exercises.
Frozen Shoulder Treatment
There is no single frozen shoulder treatment; the treatment varies on many factors such as the severity and its current stage. The following are the treatments for frozen shoulder pain which can help you to get relief.
1. Over The Counter Anti-Inflammatory Painkillers
- These drugs are commonly prescribed to relieve you from pain. A few examples of anti-inflammatory drugs are ibuprofen, diclofenac, and naproxen.
- Many different brands of drugs are available in the market and if one does not suit you, you can easily choose another one.
2. Ordinary Painkillers
- There is a possibility that the anti-inflammatory drugs might not suit you, and therefore, you can take ordinary painkillers such as paracetamol or codeine.
- However, you need to be extremely careful as these painkillers could cause a number of side effects such as constipation, drowsiness, or even cardiac arrest.
3. Frozen Shoulder Exercise
- For frozen shoulder, exercise is a must which you need to do three times a day.
- In frozen shoulder, the shoulder joint becomes stiff and we will have to make efforts to loosen it.
- Basic exercises for frozen shoulders are hand and shoulder movements in sideways motion or rotatory motion.
- Do not over exercise as it may worsen the situation. The movement should be slow and relaxed.
4. Anti-Inflammatory Analgesic Targeted Injections
- These are injections which give temporary relief. They do not permanently cure frozen shoulders.
- It is injected on the shoulder at the site of pain and this helps to reduce the pain.
- The pain disappears for several weeks but inevitably comes back.
- These injections which contain steroids do not cure you but merely rid you of pain.
5. Nerve Block
- It is a special technique used only by neurosurgeons.
- They block the nerve that is responsible for sending messages of pain to the shoulder.
- It works similar to a steroid injection and only relieves you of the symptoms momentarily but does not cure the basic problem.
Frozen shoulder can also be treated by certain food supplements like glucosamine with msm as it helps to ease the movement between joints.
You should eat a diet that is rich in calcium and proteins. Do not forget to take Calcium and vitamin D supplements on a regular basis.
Most people regain shoulder movements over a period of time but they do face some difficulty getting back to their normal activities. But it is not impossible – all it takes is a little perseverance and effort.
Please share your experiences and queries with me in the comment box below. I’ll be happy to help you further.
Photo Courtesy: precam.ca