Are you experiencing a significant amount of shoulder pain, even when it’s inactive? Has it been lasting for several months? If so, you may have frozen shoulder.
What is frozen shoulder?
While it is unknown what exactly causes frozen shoulder, research suggests the process is started with inflammation in the lining of the shoulder joint. Overtime the inflamed area thickens, becoming stiffer and more painful.
It is believed that two to five percent of people will experience frozen shoulder during their lifetime, and people with:
- Thyroid disorder
- History of shoulder trauma (surgery, injury)
- Periods of shoulder immobilization
have a higher risk of developing frozen shoulder. Patients with frozen shoulder usually develop a series of symptoms over several months, including:
- Shoulder pain when the arm is in use and at rest.
- Shoulder joint becoming stiffer.
- Dramatic difference in range of motion between both shoulders.
How does frozen shoulder progress?
Frozen shoulder usually revolves around a 12 to 24 month course, going through three stages:
- Painful stage – This is where the shoulder is very painful at rest and in use. Gradually, the shoulder gets stiffer, starting to limit your range of motion.
- Frozen stage – The shoulder becomes very stiff, but is only painful when it is in use. The pain at rest is resolved.
- Thawing stage – Slow and steady motion begins to return to the shoulder, and the pain starts to subside.
How is it treated?
When it comes to treating frozen shoulder, it requires tremendous patience. It takes a significant amount of time to improve the range of motion. During the first stage of frozen shoulder, medication and cortisone injections are used to treat the pain. Home stretching can help limit the loss of shoulder motion. Some stretches include:
- Walking the fingers up the wall.
- Pulling the arm across the chest with the opposite arm.
- Pulling the arm behind the back.
Additionally, physical therapy is highly recommended for a successful recovery, and at our Bellevue medical center, we have skilled and talented physical therapists to stretch, treat, and restore your shoulder’s range of motion.
To get your life back on track, free from shoulder pain, please give us a call today to start your recovery!