What is Frozen Shoulder?

This is a condition affecting the shoulder joints wherein the covering of the joint becomes stiff and painful.

A joint is a connection of 2 or 3 bones that is covered by a membrane called the joint capsule. The capsule should be flexible for the smooth functioning of the joint. In this condition, the capsule of the shoulder joint becomes stiff, leading to restricted movements at the joint. Usually one shoulder joint is affected at a time.

How common is Frozen Shoulder?

More than a million cases per year in India are diagnosed.

What are the symptoms of Frozen Shoulder?

  • Shoulder pain: in early stages the pain is worst at night, later it is present at all times.
  • Shoulder stiffness: inability to move arm at the shoulder joint.

Who is at risk for Frozen Shoulder?

  • Elderly population (especially those with history of trauma to shoulder joint)
  • People suffering from Diabetes Mellitus

What are the causes of Frozen Shoulder?

Although the cause of this condition remains unknown, it is believed that it occurs due to long standing swelling of the covering of shoulder joint or inadequate treatment following trauma.

What are the complications of Frozen Shoulder?

Complete inability to move arm at shoulder joint leading to a frozen shoulder.

How is Frozen Shoulder diagnosed?

Your doctor will diagnose this condition based on the following facts:

  • Normal x-ray of shoulder joint
  • Above mentioned symptoms following trauma.
  • MRI (Important diagnostic tool for Frozen Shoulder)

How is Frozen Shoulder treated?

This is a self-limiting condition lasting for 6-9 months, hence treatment is focused mainly on reducing symptoms:

  • Painkillers for mild pain
  • Steroid injection into the joint for excruciating pain
  • Hot fomentation with hot water bags
  • Physiotherapy: shoulder exercises done three times a day help in relieving the symptoms

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What lifestyle changes are required to deal with a Frozen Shoulder?

  • Follow the doctor’s advice on pain relief
  • Don’t stop moving the arm
  • Exercise the other arm, it helps in treating the affected arm
  • Include anti-inflammatory foods like tomatoes, nuts and green leafy vegetables in your diet
  • Practice good sleep hygiene

How to take care of someone with a Frozen Shoulder?

  • Make sure they have timely appointments with their doctor
  • Encourage them to take physiotherapy sessions as per their doctor’s advice
  • Ensure their diet is anti-inflammatory and rich in Vitamin D
  • Support them and be patient with them as Frozen shoulder is a painful condition

Consult an orthopedic surgeon for diagnosis and treatment.

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