Frozen Shoulder

Frozen shoulder, medically known as adhesive capsulitis, is a condition characterised by stiffness and pain in your shoulder joint. This condition usually develops slowly in three stages – freezing, frozen, and thawing, which can take one to three years to resolve.

Symptoms

Typical symptoms of a frozen shoulder include:

  • Stiffness in the shoulder
  • Difficulty with everyday tasks like dressing, driving, and sleeping comfortably
  • Pain in the shoulder, which often worsens at night
  • Limited movement in the shoulder

Diagnosis

Diagnosis for frozen shoulder typically involves:

  • Physical Examination: Your doctor will test your shoulder movement and pain.
  • Imaging Tests: These may include X-rays, ultrasound, or MRI to rule out other structural problems.

Prevention

While it isn’t always possible to prevent frozen shoulder, keeping your shoulder joint fully moving after an injury or surgery can help prevent the condition.

Treatment

Treatment for frozen shoulder aims to alleviate pain and restore normal movement in the shoulder. The main types include:

  • Physiotherapy: Regular exercises can stretch your shoulder joint and restore mobility.
  • Medications: Over-the-counter pain relievers and anti-inflammatory medications can help reduce pain and swelling.
  • Steroid Injections: Injecting corticosteroids into the shoulder joint can significantly reduce pain and improve range of motion.
  • Joint Distension: Injecting sterile water into the shoulder joint capsule can help stretch the tissue and make it easier to move the shoulder.
  • Shoulder Manipulation: Under general anaesthesia, your doctor will move your shoulder in different directions to help loosen the tightened tissue.
  • Surgery: In some cases, arthroscopic surgery is needed to remove scar tissue and adhesions from inside the shoulder joint.