Frozen shoulder, also known as adhesive capsulitis, is a debilitating condition in which shoulder mobility is restricted. Frozen shoulder grows as the solid connective tissue around the shoulder joint (called the shoulder joint capsule) becomes heavy, stiff and inflamed, that’s why you might feel shoulder pain in the joint too. (The joint capsule includes ligaments that connect the top [humeral head] of the upper arm bone to the [glenoid] shoulder socket, securing the joint tightly in place. This is more generally referred to as the “ball and socket” joint.)
The condition is called the “frozen” shoulder since the less often the shoulder can be used the more discomfort it is experienced. Lack of use causes thickening of the shoulder capsule and becomes tight, making it even harder for the shoulder to move — it becomes “frozen” in position.
Age: Adults, most often aged between 40 and 60.
Gender: More common in women compared with men.
Past shoulder injury: any surgery or shoulder injury that results in the need to restrain the shoulder from moving (i.e., use a shoulder brace, harness, shoulder wrap, etc.). Examples include rotator cuff tear and shoulder blade breaks, collarbone, or upper arm breaks.
Diabetes: Frozen shoulder occurs between 10 and 20 per cent of people with diabetes mellitus.
Other health conditions and diseases: Includes stroke, hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid gland), hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid gland), heart disease and Parkinson’s disease. Strokes are a risk factor for frozen shoulder, as an arm and shoulder movements can be restricted. It is not known whether other disorders and conditions raise the chance of having a frozen shoulder.
Frozen shoulder signs are broken down into three stages:
“freezing” stage: The shoulder is stiff at this point, and is painful to move. The pain is rising steadily. It may worsen in the night. Lack of ability for shoulder movement is growing. This stage has a period of 6 weeks to 9 months.
“frozen” stage: Pain may be lessening at this point, but the shoulder remains stiff. That makes everyday tasks and activities more challenging to accomplish. This stage takes 2-6 months.
The stage of ‘thawing’ (recovery): Pain diminishes at this point, and the ability to move the shoulder increases gradually. Full or near-complete recovery happens as a return to normal force and motion. The stage lasts from six months to two years.
Your doctor will diagnose the frozen shoulder to:
- Discuss your problems, and study your history of treatment.
- Do a thorough test of your back and shoulders:
- The doctor moves the arm in all directions to test the range of motion and whether any discomfort exists. This sort of test, where the doctor moves the arm, and not you, is called deciding your “passive motion range.” Often the doctor will watch you turn shoulder to see your “active motion range.”
- They compare the two types of motion. People with frozen shoulder have reduced active as well as passive range of motion.
- Shoulder X-rays are also regularly performed to ensure that the cause of the symptoms is not due to any shoulder injury, such as arthritis. For diagnosis of frozen shoulder, advanced imaging tests, such as magnetic resonance imaging ( MRI) and ultrasound are typically not needed. They could be used to check at other complications, including breaking a rotator cuff.
Many people also opt for chiropractic frozen shoulder treatment in Singapore for guaranteed results, as this kind of therapy has been proven to work tremendously over the years!