Frozen Shoulder – Causes, Prevention, and Treatment

Frozen shoulder is stiffness, pain, and limited movement of the shoulder joint movements. Frozen shoulder or adhesive capsulitis can occur if there is an injury, excessive movement or diabetes or stroke.

This disorder causes the tissue around the joints to stiffen and form scar tissue. This condition usually comes slowly, then disappears slowly until it is also more than one year old.

People aged 40 years or older, especially women, are more susceptible to frozen shoulder. This disease can occur in people who are recovering after surgery, such as a stroke or mastectomy.

Causes of Frozen Shoulder

Frozen shoulder can develop when you stop using a joint due to illness, injury, or a chronic health condition. Any shoulder problem can cause frozen shoulder if you don’t practice the joint motion.

Thickened tissue that forms a capsule when a person experiences frozen shoulder causes disruption of shoulder movement. The thickened tissue is thought to be tissue that resembles scar tissue.

Frozen shoulder can suddenly appear without a clear trigger. In some cases it can be triggered by rheumatic diseases. In some other cases, frozen shoulder is experienced by diabetics. But the exact cause of thickening and inflammation is unknown.

However, there are a number of things that are suspected to be triggers, namely:

  • Trauma, for example due to surgery on the shoulder, tendon tears, or fractures of the upper arm
  • Immobilization, for example due to old operations such as thoracic and cardiovascular surgery, or neurosurgery
  • Metabolic/endocrine diseases, for example due to diabetes, autoimmune diseases, and thyroid disease
  • Nerve problems, for example due to stroke or Parkinson’s
  • Heart problems, such as hypertension or cardiac ischemia
  • Drugs, for example consumption of protease inhibitors, anti-retroviruses, immunizations
  • Hyperlipidemia (high cholesterol), or cell malignancy

Frozen Shoulder Diagnosis

When you have frozen shoulder, you will experience pain around the shoulder area, starting in the shoulder joint and spreading to the surrounding area, including the shoulder blades and clavicle. You will continue to experience pain, even at rest and at night.

In addition to physical examination, a diagnosis of frozen shoulder can usually be obtained based on examination of symptoms alone. But the doctor will recommend supporting examinations, such as X-rays and MRI scans.

Frozen Shoulder Handling

Treatment for frozen shoulder usually begins with a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug and provides hot energy to the affected area followed by gentle stretching. Ice and medication (including corticosteroid injections) can also be used to reduce pain and swelling. In addition, physical therapy can also help increase range of motion. Usually, this therapy will take one year to get maximum results.

Meanwhile, if treatment does not help, surgery is usually done to loosen some of the tight tissue around the shoulder. This operation is usually done twice, the first operation is called manipulation under anesthesia, where you will be put to sleep and then your arms are moved to a more tenuous position.

As for the second operation, usually using an arthroscope to cut tight tissue and scar tissue. Both of these operations can be done at the same time.

Pain relievers can also be obtained freely at pharmacies and can be used to reduce the pain and inflammation caused by this condition. Drugs such as aspirin and ibuprofen class of drugs are some of them. If over-the-counter medicines are not effective in relieving pain, doctors can recommend high-dose painkillers and anti-inflammatory drugs for patients.

Independent treatment when at home can also be done by patients with frozen shoulder to help relieve pain. You can use a warm or cold cloth on the shoulder area. The following are lifestyle and home remedies that can overcome frozen shoulder.

  • Use medication as directed by the doctor
  • Exercise according to doctor’s advice
  • Follow the guidance of a physiotherapist
  • Try to move normally because it is the shoulder that is rarely moved that is the cause of this disease

Some other treatment options for frozen shoulder that can be taken into consideration are alternative treatments such as acupuncture, shiatsu massage, to the provision of stimuli aimed at the nerves – by using electricity through the skin layer or TENS (Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation).

Basically, the key to recovery is to maintain shoulder movements. Physiotherapy and exercise at home can help reduce pain and maintain arm movement.

Frozen Shoulder Prevention

Gentle and progressive stretching exercises using the shoulder can help prevent frozen shoulder after surgery or injury. Even so, experts have not been able to know with certainty the cause of this disease, so this joint problem is something that cannot be prevented.

In addition to obeying all doctor’s recommendations, this must also be accompanied by regular physical exercise. Maintaining the strength and flexibility of the muscles around the shoulders with proper exercise and stretching will help condition the strength of your shoulder joints.

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