Frozen shoulder is an excruciatingly painful condition that affects movement of the shoulder. Frozen shoulder is also known as adhesive capsulitis or shoulder contracture. If you have frozen shoulder, the amount of movement in your shoulder joint will be reduced. In severe cases, you may not be able to move your shoulder at all. The most common symptoms are pain and stiffness in the shoulder.
Causes of Frozen Shoulder
Frozen shoulder is caused when the flexible tissue that surrounds the shoulder joint, known as the capsule, becomes inflamed and thickened.
It is not fully understood why this happens, although there are a number of things that make developing a frozen shoulder more likely. These include having:
• a shoulder injury or shoulder surgery
• Dupuytren’s contracture – a condition where small lumps of thickened tissue form in the hands and fingers
• other health conditions, such as heart disease and stroke
Some people with frozen shoulder may get better over a period of 18-24 months. In other cases, symptoms can persist for several years.
Studies suggest that about 50% of people with frozen shoulder continue to experience symptoms up to seven years after the condition starts. However, with appropriate treatment it is possible to shorten the period of disability.
The aim of treatment is to keep your joint as mobile and pain free as possible while your shoulder heals. The type of treatment you receive will depend on how severe your frozen shoulder is and how far it has progressed.
Painkillers, corticosteroid injections, shoulder exercises and physiotherapy are all possible treatment options. Surgery may be recommended if your symptoms have not improved after six months. A recent study by researchers also shows that simple salt water could help you to “unlock” your frozen shoulder.