Frozen shoulder is a medical condition that is known clinically as adhesive capsulitis. It causes stiffness and restricted movement in the shoulder and arm.
The shoulder capsule or joint is the part of the shoulder that houses the tendons and ligaments. These tendons and ligaments attach the arm bone to the shoulder blade bone. When this joint develops inflammation, it becomes very difficult to move the arm in any direction.
Frozen shoulder has no known cause. However, other medical conditions are thought to add to a patient's propensity for developing this condition. Diabetes, a history of heart surgery or shoulder injury, and hyperthyroidism are all medical conditions that may affect whether or not a person develops frozen shoulder.
There are three phases to frozen shoulder. First, the patient will experience severe pain in the arm and shoulder region. This pain will cause the patient to be related to move the arm resulting in stiffness and possible temporary paralysis. This is the second phase. During the third phase, the infection will begin to improve and the patient will notice restored range of motion.
The severity of the pain and stiffness will determine the treatment that is prescribed. Most doctors agree that the most effective treatment is physical therapy, steroid injections, and NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs).
When physical therapy is done for its treatment, there are exercises that patients must do on a daily basis if the physical therapy is to be successful. If the pain is intense, a nerve block might help to relate some of the pain.
If all other types of frozen shoulder treatment have failed, there are extreme measures that can be taken to correct the problem. The physician may elect to do a shoulder manipulation while the patient is under anesthesia.
This is, however, not an option most doctors like because there is a chance of dislocation of the shoulder or teasing of the shoulder tendons and ligaments. The other option involves surgically cutting any tight ligaments and removing the offending scar tissue.