Knowing your body is the first step to living a healthy, long life. The second step is knowing what may be affecting your health when you first begin to notice pain. If you are between the ages of 40 and 60, a potential cause of pain to be aware of is a condition known as frozen shoulder, clinically referred to as adhesive capsulitis.
Frozen shoulder affects about 2% of the general public, and tends to affect women more often than men. This condition causes stiffness of the shoulder joint, which slows down and can impede movement of the shoulder. If you think you may have frozen shoulder, or are experiencing the above symptoms, please call the Diagnostic Pain Center to schedule a medical evaluation.
Causes of Frozen Shoulder
While the exact causes of frozen shoulder are not fully understood, there are certain factors that can put an individual at a higher risk for developing the condition.
- Immobilization – Frozen shoulder can develop if the shoulder has been immobilized for an extended period of time. This can occur after surgery, a fracture or another type of injury.
- Diabetes – Individuals with diabetes are much more likely to develop this condition, though the reason why is not yet known. Frozen shoulder affects 10-20% of individuals with diabetes.
- Other Diseases – Additional diseases and conditions have also been linked to frozen shoulder, including Parkinson’s disease, hyperthyroidism and cardiac disease.
Frozen shoulder can develop if the shoulder has been immobilized for an extended period of time. This can occur after surgery, a fracture or another type of injury.
Individuals with diabetes are much more likely to develop this condition, though the reason why is not yet known. Frozen shoulder affects 10-20% of individuals with diabetes.
- Other Diseases
Additional diseases and conditions have also been linked to frozen shoulder, including Parkinson’s disease, hyperthyroidism and cardiac disease.
Symptoms of Frozen Shoulder
Symptoms of frozen shoulder usually start with a dull pain in the upper shoulder. This pain often gets worse gradually until the shoulder is so stiff that range of motion is lost (hence the name frozen shoulder).
Frozen shoulder can be broken down into three stages:
Initial stage when movement of the shoulder becomes progressively more difficult from pain and stiffness. This period can last anywhere from 6 weeks all the way up to 9 months.
At this point, the pain has improved, but the shoulder is still stiff, making movement difficult. This can last for several months.
The ability to move the shoulder gradually returns until normal or close to normal function is restored. This recovery period can last anywhere from 6 months to 2 years.
Treating Frozen Shoulder
When you first notice persistent pain in the shoulder or upper arm, schedule an appointment with a pain specialist in Austin. It is important to get an accurate diagnosis. Depending on how severe your frozen shoulder is, there will be several options available to you.
The first and most common treatment approach is a non-surgical method involving simple stretching. There are various routines that can be done to strengthen the shoulders and stop frozen shoulder from progressing. Physical therapy is often suggested as a first line of defense. Steroid injections may also be used, wherein a powerful anti-inflammatory medication such as cortisone is injected directly into the shoulder.
Steroid injections help to reduce inflammation, swelling and pain. This provides the patient with a window of symptom relief making it easier to carry out their physical therapy program. If these treatment methods prove to be ineffective, there are surgical procedures available to help improve frozen shoulder.
Schedule an Appointment in Austin to Evaluate Shoulder Pain
If you are experiencing persistent symptoms associated with frozen shoulder, do not wait for the problem to get worse. Contact our pain doctors in Austin today to get a professional diagnosis and a customized treatment program. We strive to get all of our patients pain-free and back to doing the things they love as quickly as possible! Call (512) 981-7246 today.