A frozen shoulder is a common ailment amongst people suffering from inflammation, hormonal imbalance, and diabetes. Attributed mostly to inflammation, which leads to thickened shoulder tissue, a frozen shoulder could also be a result of an injury. The condition itself takes months to develop and symptoms may subside within 1 to 2 years when proper treatment is received. Long periods of inactivity may cause and often worsen the problems related to a frozen shoulder. Experts still need to give a final call on what the real cause behind a frozen shoulder is.
Diagnosing a frozen shoulder
A frozen shoulder is a condition that affects the shoulder joints and the shoulder capsule. The shoulder capsule is a tissue that surrounds the joint of your shoulder blade, collar bone and upper arm. When you suffer from this condition, the shoulder capsule becomes very tight and stiff. This makes movement very difficult. Over time, scar tissues develop in the region. The condition is worsened further if the synovial fluid in the joint dries up.
When you experience stiffness and pain in your shoulder, coupled with restricted movement, it is likely that you have a case of a frozen shoulder. While the problem may be temporary, caused by shock or inaction (like wearing your hand on a sling due to an injury elsewhere), it can last for as long as three years. If you have inflammation, diabetes, or hormonal issues (especially thyroid) and you experience the symptoms mentioned above, then you should talk to your doctor immediately.
Your doctor will be able to diagnose the frozen shoulder with the help of an X-ray and an MRI scan. Once done, you will be given medications that will help decrease inflammation. Sometimes, a steroid injection may be necessary to make the shoulder move. In some more difficult and complicated cases, the doctor may prescribe surgery. However, it is not always the first preference.
Physiotherapy for frozen shoulder
Perhaps the most important aspect of treatment of frozen shoulder is physiotherapy. This, along with a few home practices, will be able to manage your symptoms very well. Your physiotherapist will use a modern machine like the Ultralign to discover the problem areas in your shoulder. He will then help the shoulder loosen up with the help of manual manipulation and a few exercises. You could be prescribed to exercise at home and use ice packs whenever the pain matures.
Physiotherapy is the most beneficial treatment for frozen shoulder. The ailment usually subsides on its own within months. However, if left untreated, you could suffer from this condition for years. However, once treatment starts, you will be able to get rid of a frozen shoulder within 6 to 9 months. Even if your doctor recommends surgery for this ailment, it is highly recommended that you continue with physical therapy for some time.
Your physiotherapist will recommend some home exercises which will help in relieving pain, ensuring consistent muscle movement and helping in avoiding this problem in the future. One of the common home exercises include pendulum stretch, towel stretch and finger walk. Note that you will have to warm up the shoulder for at least 10 to 15 minutes before doing any exercise. You will have to perform these stretching exercises to create tension in the muscles. However, there should be no pain.
Ensure that you follow your physiotherapist’s recommendations properly. Get the physical therapy as often as it is needed. The more proactive your approach, the sooner you will be able to manage your symptoms.
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