Symptoms and Causes of a Frozen Shoulder
Alternatively referred to as adhesive capsulitis, a frozen shoulder is a very common condition. It’s characterized by a reduced mobility on the shoulders as a result of the stiffening of the muscles.
Sometimes, a frozen shoulder can be mistaken for arthritis. However, it is important to take note that both conditions are different. Where frozen shoulder refers specifically to a problem pertaining to the joint area, arthritis on the other hand refers to a problem affecting other joints, or even multiple joint areas.
Frozen shoulder affects all ages, but is most common between people aged 40 and 60 years old. Women are also more likely to have a frozen shoulder compared to men. Although generally referred to as a common condition, a frozen shoulder, which can affect both shoulders at the same time but often only one, only affects a small percentage of the world’s population (3%).
Frozen shoulder will manifest itself as a persistent pain on the shoulder joint, usually accompanied by stiffness.
While sometimes incredibly painful, the pain is often only inconvenient and annoying. Symptoms may develop gradually, which comes and goes over a long period of time.
While the reason behind why people get a frozen shoulder occur has not been fully explained yet, researchers have found risk factors over many years of study.
- Being over 40 years old
- Being female (7 out of 10 with frozen shoulder are female)
- Recent surgery or an arm fracture. Either of these two can cause the shoulders to be immobile and to stiffen up during the recovery process
- 1 out of 10 diabetes patients are likely to develop frozen shoulder, and they usually suffer from more severe symptoms. The reason for this remains unclear as of yet.
Conditions such as stroke, hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism, cardiovascular disease, and Parkinson’s disease have all also been proven to increase one’s risk for getting a frozen shoulder.
The aim of a typical frozen shoulder treatment in Singapore is to help minimize the pain while preserving the mobility of the shoulder.
Recovering from a frozen shoulder can take months if not years, and symptoms can persist for an extremely long time.
Below are the most common methods used in a shoulder pain treatment in Singapore:
- Physiotherapy can help you in the recovery from a frozen shoulder. A physiotherapist can perform treatment techniques to increase movement in the shoulder joint, as well as reducing pain. They can also show you exercises such ‘External Rotation in 30° Abduction‘ that are specific to your condition and ensure you are performing them correctly.
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen can help alleviate pain and reduce the inflammation on the joints. Meanwhile, acetaminophen is often recommended for prolonged use.
- In worse cases, a prescription painkiller, like an opiate-based painkiller, might be necessary to help the patient deal with the pain.
- Alternating and using hot and cold compression packs have been proven to help alleviate the pain by reducing both the pain and swelling.
- Injecting corticosteroid directly into the shoulder joints can help alleviate pain in worse cases, but this treatment method is often discouraged because it can cause more harm than good because of its many adverse side-effects.
- Using transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) machines to numb the nerve endings in the spinal cord responsible for controlling pain has also been proven to help many frozen shoulder patients deal with the pain.
- Regular exercise that’s designed specifically to help the sufferer maintain mobility and flexibility in the shoulders without overexerting effort can also help with the pain as well.
- Sometimes, surgery might be necessary.
Your physician will be able to properly diagnose frozen shoulder as it shares many of its symptoms to other shoulder-related problems, such as shoulder impingement in Singapore.
If you’re experiencing any pain on your shoulders that doesn’t seem to improve, make sure that you have it checked by a physiotherapist who can provide proper advice and guidance to relieve and treat your pain.
Experiencing shoulder pain? Click here to find out more about physiotherapy for shoulder pain relief and how Core Concepts can help