Frozen Shoulder

WHAT IS FROZEN SHOULDER?

Frozen shoulder, also known as adhesive capsulitis, is a condition characterised by stiffness and pain in your shoulder joint, typically involving substantial pain, movement restriction, and considerable morbidity. The pain and stiffness develops gradually as a result of thickening and tightening of the shoulder capsule. It could get worse and then finally goes away, and can take as long as between a year to 3 years. It affects mainly men and women ages from 40 to 60, more common in female (70%).

WHAT ARE COMMON FROZEN SHOULDER SYMPTOM?

Symptoms begin as a gradual onset and progress through the following

3 stages:

1. Painful (Freezing) stage

  • Pain in the shoulder joint with any movement
  • Pain might get worse at night
  • Limited shoulder movement
  • Little to no response to anti-inflammatory medication
  • This might last from 6 to 9 months.

2. Frozen (Adhesion) stage

  • Pain starts to subside but stiffness gets worse
  • Shoulder movement becomes extremely limited that can reduce daily activities.
  • This stage might last from 4 to 12 months

3. Thawing (Resolution) stage

  • Shoulder movement begins to improve, and the range of motion starts to go back to normal.
  • This might take between 6 months to 2 years.

WHAT CAUSES FROZEN SHOULDER?

The causes of Frozen Shoulder are unknown. However, certain groups of people are more likely to suffer from frozen shoulder: 

  • Women are more often than men
  • People whose ages are between 40 and 60
  • Those in the process of recovering from a medical condition like a stroke, or surgery like a mastectomy that keeps them from moving the arm
  • People with diabetes (10-20%), heart disease, thyroid disease, or Parkinson’s disease
  • People with poor biomechanics and postures.

WHICH TREATMENTS ARE RECOMMENDED TO REDUCE FROZEN SHOULDER?

WHAT SHOULD BE AVOIDED IF I HAVE FROZEN SHOULDER?

  • Avoid frozen food, fast food, carbonated drinks, packaged food, refined products, and other stimulants such as coffee or tea
  • Avoid heavy exercises
  • Avoid exposure to cold environments
  • Avoid skipping meals

REFERENCES

Frozen shoulder contracture syndrome n.d., Physiopedia, viewed 23 Oct 2019, <https://www.physiospot.com/research/frozen-shoulder-contracture-syndrome/>

Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (MFMER) 2018, Frozen Shoulder, Mayo Clinic, viewed 23 Oct 2018, <https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/frozen-shoulder/symptoms-causes/syc-20372684>

Harvard Health Publishing 2010, How to release a frozen shoulder, Harvard Medical School, viewed 23 Oct 2019, <https://www.health.harvard.edu/pain/how-to-release-a-frozen-shoulder>

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