Thursday, 26 July 2012

Frozen Shoulder (Adhesive Capsulitis)


Frozen shoulder is a very common and often debilitating condition in which the shoulder joint becomes extremely painful and there is a loss of movement. There is no known cause for frozen shoulder; however, certain factors increase the risk of developing a frozen shoulder. According to PubMed Health, these risk factors include:
·         Diabetes
·         Shoulder injury
·         Shoulder surgery
·         Cervical disc disease (neck)
·         Open heart surgery
·         Overactive thyroid
The most common symptoms are pain, loss of motion in the joint and stiffness.

Frozen shoulder is caused by inflammation of the joint capsule, resulting in limited movement and pain. Generally, one gets pain in the shoulder without any known cause. This results in a person using the affected arm less because it is sore. Reduced movement results in increased stiffness. Depending on how long one waits to be treated, this cycle will continue until a person has next to no movement in that shoulder.



Frozen shoulder is usually diagnosed by means of an examination of the shoulder and according to the symptoms a patient is experiencing. An x-ray may be done to rule out any other injuries in the joint and an MRI may be done to confirm inflammation; however, most of the time a medical practitioner will diagnose a frozen shoulder by examining the shoulder using various tests. Common movements that people suffering with frozen shoulders battle to perform include:
·         Reaching up to the front
·         Reaching up to the side
·         Bending one’s arm behind their back
·         Putting on a coat
·         Brushing one’s hair

If untreated, a frozen shoulder may take up to two years to recover, and one may never regain complete range of motion. Pain killers and anti-inflammatory drugs can be taken to reduce pain and inflammation. It is then vital that intense physical therapy with a Biokineticist is started early in order to speed up the recovery process. Because movement is often restricted by pain, which then results in stiffness, it is important that the arm is used and moved throughout its range of motion. Passive and active range of motion exercises must be performed on a regular basis. Depending on how severe the frozen shoulder is, recovery may take anywhere from a few weeks up to nine months. Surgical intervention may be necessary in severe cases. Here, the arm is moved through its full range under anaesthetic in order to release scar tissue in the joint.

Therefore, if you have any pain in the shoulder that is restricting movement in your normal daily activities, consult a medical practitioner as soon as possible so that you can start your exercise therapy with a Biokineticist early, thereby speeding up your recovery.

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