Treating frozen shoulder
The aim of frozen shoulder 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, anti-inflammatory injections, shoulder exercises and physiotherapy are all possible treatment options. Another non-surgical method, Manipulation under anaesthesia of the shoulder, may be recommended if your symptoms have not improved after six months. Surgery will be the last option to treat frozen shoulder.
What is frozen shoulder?
Frozen shoulder is a 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.
Pain and persistent stiffness in the shoulder joint are the two main symptoms of a frozen shoulder.
This makes it painful and difficult to carry out the full range of normal shoulder movements. You may find it difficult to perform everyday tasks such as:
- combing your hair
- sleeping comfortably
Symptoms may vary from mild, with little interference to daily activities, to severe, where it may not be possible to move your shoulder at all.
What causes 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
- other health conditions, such as heart disease and stroke
When to see a doctor?
You should visit a doctor if you have shoulder pain that limits your range of movement.
A diagnosis of frozen shoulder needs to be made early so treatment for the condition can be started quickly to help prevent long-term pain and stiffness developing in your joint.