Frozen shoulder is a debilitating condition characterized by a painful and stiff shoulder. What can be done about frozen shoulder?
Also known as adhesive capsulitis, it is a common condition that affects many people in Singapore. It is more common in patients between the ages of 40 and 60 and is caused by inflammation of the shoulder joint capsule, which becomes thickened and tight. This leads to restriction of shoulder range of motion causing pain and stiffness.
The main features of frozen shoulder are pain and stiffness which gradually worsens over time. This can severely impact and limit activities of daily living, such as overhead movements, reaching one’s back, changing clothes, driving etc.
Frozen shoulder can also lead to disturbed sleep.
Frozen shoulder can categorized into the following:
Primary frozen shoulder
The primary cause of frozen shoulder is unknown. People with poorly controlled diabetes are more prone to develop frozen shoulder. Other associated medical conditions include heart or thyroid disease.
Secondary frozen shoulder
Secondary frozen shoulder is associated with other shoulder issues (such as rotator cuff tears, labrum tears) or after a period of immobilization. Pain caused by the underlying shoulder problem leads to reduced movement in that shoulder and this in turns leads to frozen shoulder.
Initial treatment includes anti-inflammatory medication, activity modification, physiotherapy or steroid injection. The goals of physiotherapy include reduction of pain using modalities such as ice, heat or interferential current therapy, improving range of movement through mobilisation, exercises and eventually regain functional movement, as well as improving muscle strength and control. Avoid strenuous activities like lifting heavy objects or playing contact sports.
It can take 2 to 3 years for frozen shoulder to resolve.
In severe or resistant cases, keyhole surgery is an option to release scar tissue around the joint and to address other coexisting issues such as rotator cuff or labral tears.
You should visit a frozen shoulder specialist as soon as possible. They will have a discussion about your medical history, and carry out a range of tests including movement assessments.
An MRI may be needed to assess for other coexisting shoulder issues such as rotator cuff or labral tear.
Early treatment and proper management of the condition will give you the best chance of a quick recovery. Make an appointment with Dr Dennis Ng to get a comprehensive frozen shoulder treatment now.
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