Frozen Shoulder : Understand the Signs, Causes, Examination, Treatment

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Frozen shoulder is a layman term that is used to refer any shoulder that is stiff. The term frozen shoulder encompasses all the medical conditions that can make the shoulder stiff including adhesive capsulitis. Frozen shoulder and adhesive capsulitis are often used interchangeably, but they may not be the same condition. Adhesive capsulitis can be referred to as a condition that involves the spontaneous, gradual onset of shoulder stiffness, and pain caused by tightening of the joint capsule. The frozen shoulder condition usually does not involve the capsule.

It is not yet clear why some people develop it, but some groups are more at risk. Frozen shoulder is seen happens more often in women than men, and the people who are between the ages of 40 and 60 are more likely to get it. If you have a weakened immune system, hormonal imbalance, and diabetes, you may be more prone to joint inflammation. A long period of inactivity due to an illness, injury, or surgery also puts you at higher risk for inflammation and adhesions, which are bands of stiff tissue.

An early diagnosis of frozen shoulder is important to prevent further progress and avoid surgery. A simple physical exam can help you to assess whether you frozen shoulder or not. Your physician will observe as you perform specific movements if you feel stiffness and pain in your shoulder, measure range of motion of the shoulder.

Generally most of the stiff or frozen shoulder issues can be managed successfully by a simple exercise program conducted by the patient at home. In addition to exercises, you may also take analgesics and anti-inflammatories for pain relief and reduce inflammation. Hot or cold compression packs can also significantly alleviate the pain, stiffness and swelling of the frozen shoulder.

Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:August 30, 2019

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