Frozen shoulder, also known as adhesive capsulitis, is a condition characterized by stiffness and pain in your shoulder joint.
It occurs when the fibers in the capsule or group of connective tissue in the shoulder tightens around the joint. This restricts movement and causes a lot of pain and discomfort. It is a common condition and can affect one or both shoulders.
A person with a frozen shoulder will experience persistent pain and a stiff shoulder joint. However, the signs and symptoms develop gradually in three different stages.
- Freezing or painful stage: In the first stage, the shoulder becomes stiff, then movement becomes very painful and limited. The pain is usually worse during the night.
- Frozen or adhesive stage: In the second stage, the shoulder becomes stiffer, limiting range of motion.
- Thawing stage: Finally, in the third stage, movement in the shoulder begins to improve.
The exact cause behind a frozen shoulder is not yet known. However, most people with frozen shoulder have experienced immobility as a result of a recent injury or fracture.
People age 40 and older, especially women, are more likely to develop frozen shoulder. Also, people with prolonged immobility or reduced mobility of the shoulder are at higher risk. People who have diabetes, a thyroid problem, cardiovascular disease or Parkinson’s disease are also at greater risk.
Most people recover from a frozen shoulder within two years without surgery.
When it comes to treating a frozen shoulder, applying cold compresses initially, followed by hot compresses is very effective. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen, may also reduce inflammation and alleviate mild pain.
At the same time, frequent, gentle exercises can prevent and possibly reverse stiffness in the shoulder. In fact, the American Association of Orthopedic Surgeons suggests exercise as a key element to reduce stiffness in the shoulder joint.
However, before you start doing exercises, keep in mind that you must always warm up your shoulder muscles. You can do this by taking a warm shower or bath for 10 to 15 minutes. You can also put a moist warm towel on the affected area for 10 to 15 minutes, but it may not be as effective.
Here are some of the top exercises to fix a frozen shoulder. continue reading on the next page