Frozen shoulder, also known as adhesive capsulitis, is categorized as the stiffness of the shoulders resulting in immobility in the shoulder joints. It normally affects adults in their 40s to 60s, and women are affected most. There are several factors that may increase the risk of frozen shoulder, including certain medical conditions like tuberculosis, obesity, and even Parkinson's disease.
The common symptom of frozen shoulder is stiffness and limited range of motion in the shoulder. However, there are three phases that accompany this occurrence.
The first phase is the painful phase, which normally lasts for two to nine months. Pain and stiffness may gradually build up and worsen at night when lying on the affected area. The second phase the adhesive phase, lasting for four months to a year, is where pain may subside, but movement in the affected area is now limited. Rotation movements as well as overhead ones can be very excruciating. The last phase is the recovery phase where the shoulder joints are now recovered, and movements are back to normal.
What Causes Frozen Shoulder?
The real cause of frozen shoulder is yet to be discovered. It may gradually progress over time or be abrupt. However, when it does happen, the capsule in the shoulder joint is thickened, scarred or contracted. It is also most common in individuals who have had prolonged immobility of the shoulders, maybe due to a surgery or fracture.
People with diabetes also have higher risk developing frozen shoulder because of the collagen fibers accumulated in the linings of the joint resulting in limited capacity of the shoulders to stretch or move. Unfortunately, there has no available solution to prevent this, only compound treatments, including analgesics and anti-inflammatory drugs.
Dupuytren's contracture has also been found to cause frozen shoulder. It is a condition affecting the hands and fingers, where the connective tissues in our palms thicken forming nodule cords that pull the fingers bent towards the palm. And at some extreme case, these nodule cords can climb up affecting the shoulder joints.
Treatments for Frozen Shoulder
People with frozen shoulder may experience relief after 18 to 24 months. In severe cases, pain may persist over several years.
For individuals seeking an immediate solution, surgery may be required to loosen up the joint capsule bringing back its range of motion. However, those who do not have the resources may go for alternative treatments, such as injections of corticosteroids accompanied by massage and cold treatments, which will often do the trick to relieve frozen shoulder.
Over-the-counter medicines such as paracetamol and codeine are also first-line defenses against frozen shoulder. They are physician-approved painkillers and anti-inflammatory agents that can provide immediate relief lasting for six to eight hours.
There are also natural remedies. Massage, acupuncture, and spine sublimation, for example, have actually been proven very effective. Chiropractic treatments can provide relief for pain as well.
How to Prevent Frozen Shoulder
Since, frozen shoulder can be very troublesome for most people as it disrupts our daily lives, there are several ways you can try to prevent it.
To begin with, make sure you are on the right track towards good health. Maintaining a regular exercise routine will help keep your shoulders mobile. Your car is a perfect example of this theory. If you do not frequently use it, keep it tuned up or fill it with oil, eventually it will get rusty, and the same holds true with our body.
The shoulder joint is composed of several tendons and ligaments that we use for a variety of activities. But, once you keep them immobile, the body will not be able to supply them enough blood for nourishment, and thus poor blood circulation can tighten up the muscles and capsule joint.
Using proper body mechanics will also prevent frozen shoulder. Our shoulder is composed of a complex structure that includes our clavicle, shoulder blades, breast bones, upper back, and neck; all important to allow the shoulder to do its many jobs. However, if you go about your daily routines without proper body mechanics, these parts can be stressed. Over time this can cause a degree of discomfort or inflammation in the shoulder joints, which basically takes on most of the loads and impact when performing a task.
Another thing you can consider preventing shoulder pain is to maintain a healthy diet. Foods rich in Calcium and Vitamin D can strengthen the bones surrounding the shoulder joints. The same is true by eating foods rich in Vitamin B complex, where veins and ligaments are properly nourished to their full potential. Sticking to a healthy diet every day will not only help prevent frozen shoulder, but by far all the unnecessary conditions you may experience and suffer as a result of it.
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