Treating Frozen Shoulder in Burnaby
Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment
Frozen shoulder, medically known as adhesive capsulitis, is a condition that affects the shoulder joint, causing pain, stiffness, and limited range of motion. It commonly develops gradually over time and can significantly impact a person’s daily activities and quality of life. Understanding the causes, symptoms, and treatment options for frozen shoulder is essential for managing and alleviating its effects.
Causes and Risk Factors: The exact cause of frozen shoulder is not fully understood, but it often occurs following a period of immobilization or reduced shoulder movement. Some common causes and risk factors include:
- Injury or Surgery: A previous shoulder injury or surgical procedure can lead to immobilization of the joint. This lack of movement can contribute to the development of scar tissue within the shoulder capsule, leading to stiffness and decreased mobility.
- Medical Conditions: Certain medical conditions, such as diabetes, thyroid disorders, and heart disease, have been associated with an increased risk of developing frozen shoulder. These conditions may affect the body’s connective tissues and contribute to inflammation in the joint.
- Age and Gender: Frozen shoulder tends to be more common in people over the age of 40, and it occurs more frequently in women than in men.
- Genetics: There may be a genetic predisposition to developing frozen shoulder, as it sometimes runs in families.
Symptoms: The hallmark symptoms of frozen shoulder include pain and restricted movement in the shoulder joint. The condition typically progresses through three stages:
- Freezing Stage: Gradual onset of pain that worsens over time. Range of motion becomes limited, and daily activities that involve shoulder movement become difficult.
- Frozen Stage: Pain may subside, but stiffness and limited mobility persist. Simple tasks like reaching behind your back or putting on clothes become challenging.
- Thawing Stage: Gradual improvement in shoulder mobility and a reduction in stiffness. Range of motion returns, though complete recovery can take several months to years.
Treatment Options: Treatment for frozen shoulder aims to reduce pain, improve shoulder mobility, and restore normal function. Depending on the severity of the condition, various approaches may be employed by not only massage therapy but also by other means.
- Physical Therapy: A cornerstone of treatment, physical therapy involves targeted exercises to stretch and strengthen the shoulder muscles and joint. Physical therapists guide patients through gentle movements that gradually improve range of motion.
- Pain Management: Over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen may help manage pain and inflammation. In more severe cases, healthcare providers may prescribe stronger pain medications or administer corticosteroid injections directly into the shoulder joint.
- Heat and Cold Therapy: Applying heat or cold to the affected shoulder can provide relief. Heat helps improve blood circulation, relax muscles, and reduce stiffness, while cold therapy helps reduce inflammation and numb the area.
- Manual Manipulation: Healthcare professionals may use manual manipulation techniques to help improve shoulder mobility. These techniques should only be performed by trained specialists.
- Hydrodilatation: This minimally invasive procedure involves injecting a sterile fluid into the shoulder joint to stretch and expand the tight capsule, helping to relieve stiffness and enhance range of motion.
- Surgical Intervention: Surgery is rarely required for frozen shoulder but may be considered in severe cases that don’t respond to other treatments. Arthroscopic capsular release involves cutting through the tight capsule to improve shoulder mobility.
- Home Exercises: Patients are often given specific exercises to perform at home to maintain and improve shoulder mobility. Consistently engaging in these exercises can contribute to long-term recovery.
Patient Education and Self-Care: Education and self-care play vital roles in managing frozen shoulder. Patients should:
- Follow their healthcare provider’s recommendations for exercises and treatments.
- Avoid activities that worsen pain and strain the shoulder joint.
- Maintain good posture and body mechanics to prevent additional strain on the shoulder.
- Practice gentle stretches and movements regularly to prevent further stiffness.
- Communicate any changes in symptoms or progress to their healthcare provider.
Conclusion: Frozen shoulder is a challenging condition that can greatly impact a person’s well-being. While its exact causes remain under investigation, a combination of medical treatments, physical therapy, and self-care strategies can help alleviate its symptoms and improve shoulder mobility. Early intervention, proper management, and patient commitment to prescribed treatments are key factors in achieving a successful recovery from frozen shoulder. If you suspect you have frozen shoulder, seeking medical advice and developing a tailored treatment plan is crucial for restoring shoulder function and enhancing your overall quality of life.