Frozen shoulder is a condition that affects millions of people around the world. It causes pain and stiffness in the shoulder joint, making it hard to move your arm. If you’re living with a frozen shoulder, managing the condition can feel overwhelming.
Fortunately, there are steps you can take to make sure your recovery is as successful as possible. In this blog post, we will discuss some do’s and don’ts for frozen shoulder. From rest to exercise, learn what measures you should take – and which ones you should avoid recovering from a frozen shoulder quickly and effectively.
What is a Frozen Shoulder?
A frozen shoulder is a condition in which the shoulder joint becomes stiff and painful. The condition is also known as adhesive capsulitis. Frozen shoulder typically affects people between the ages of 40 and 60. The condition is more common in women than men.
The exact cause of the frozen shoulder is unknown. However, the condition is thought to be related to an overproduction of collagen in the shoulder joint. This overproduction of collagen leads to the formation of scar tissue around the shoulder joint. The scar tissue restricts movement of the shoulder joint and causes pain.
Frozen shoulder is a progressive condition. The symptoms typically begin with pain and stiffness in the shoulder joint. The pain may be mild at first, but it gradually worsens over time.
As the condition progresses, the pain may become severe and the range of motion in the affected shoulder joint may decrease significantly. People with frozen shoulders often have difficulty performing everyday activities, such as combing their hair or reaching for items on a shelf.
There is no cure for frozen shoulder, but there are treatments that can help relieve symptoms and improve the range of motion in the affected joint. Treatment typically includes
- Physical therapy
- Steroid injections and
Causes of Frozen Shoulder
The most common cause of a frozen shoulder is the loss of blood supply to the shoulder. This can happen due to an injury or surgery. Other causes include:
- A tear in the rotator cuff
- Thyroid disease
- Adhesive capsulitis (a condition where the shoulder capsule becomes inflamed and stiff)
Symptoms of Frozen Shoulder
There are four main symptoms of a frozen shoulder:
- Loss of motion
- Loss of strength
Pain is the most common symptom and is often described as a dull, achy feeling. It may be worse at night or when you try to move your arm.
2. Loss of motion
Loss of motion means that you can’t move your arm as far as you could before. You may have trouble reaching up overhead, behind your back, or out to the side.
3. Loss of strength
Loss of strength means that it’s harder to lift things or do other activities that require moving your arm.
Stiffness is usually worst in the morning and improves throughout the day. But it may get worse again at night.
Do’s and Don’ts for Frozen Shoulder
- Apply ice to the affected area for 20 minutes at a time, several times a day.
- Take over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen or naproxen to help reduce pain and inflammation.
- Perform gentle range-of-motion exercises of the affected arm and shoulder, as recommended by your doctor or physical therapist.
- Attend physical therapy sessions to help improve range of motion and reduce pain.
- Wear a sling or shoulder immobilizer at night to keep the shoulder from moving while you sleep.
- Have regular massage therapy sessions to help reduce muscle tension and promote relaxation.
- Try acupuncture (Dry Needling) or other alternative therapies to help relieve pain and improve the range of motion.
- Avoid all activity that causes pain or discomfort in the affected shoulder.
- Refuse to participate in physical therapy or follow your doctor’s recommendations for treatments
Stages of Frozen Shoulder
In the early stage of a frozen shoulder, the patient can move his or her shoulder freely without any pain. This is called the freezing stage. After a few weeks, the pain begins to worsen, and the patient cannot move his or her shoulder.
This is the stage where the pain is at its worst. At this stage, the patient will not be able to lift his or her arm above shoulder level. If you are in this stage, you should take it easy and rest your arm.
The patient experiences pain and stiffness. This stage is not usually painful. However, the stiffness is so severe that it interferes with the ability to perform daily activities. The patient has difficulty sleeping because of the pain.
As the frozen shoulder thaws, the pain disappears. The patient can then move the shoulder freely. If the shoulder freezes again, the pain returns.
How Frozen Shoulder is Treated
Most cases of frozen shoulder will improve on their own within 6 to 18 months. However, there are a number of treatments that can help speed up the recovery process and reduce pain and stiffness.
The most important thing you can do is keep moving your shoulder as much as possible. This may be painful at first but it is essential to prevent the shoulder from freezing up completely. Gentle exercises, such as Pendulum exercises, are often recommended.
Your doctor or physiotherapist may also recommend other treatments, such as:
- Steroid injections – these can help reduce inflammation and speed up the healing process
- Joint manipulation – this involves forcefully moving the shoulder joint into different positions to break up any adhesions that have formed
- Shoulder traction – this stretches the muscles and tissues around the shoulder joint to relieve pain and improve the range of motion
- Surgery is only rarely required for a frozen shoulder and is only considered when all other treatment options have failed.
Prevention of Frozen Shoulder
There are several things you can do to prevent a frozen shoulder, or at least reduce your risk of developing the condition.
- First, if you have any risk factors for a frozen shoulder, such as diabetes or a previous injury to the shoulder, be sure to monitor your shoulder carefully and see a doctor at the first sign of any stiffness or pain.
- Second, keep your shoulder moving. This may seem counterintuitive when trying to prevent an injury, but keeping your shoulder mobile and avoiding prolonged periods of immobility will actually help reduce your risk.
- Finally, stay healthy overall. Maintaining a healthy weight, eating a balanced diet, and getting regular exercise will all help keep your body in peak condition and better able to withstand the development of a frozen shoulder or other conditions.
How to Sleep with a Frozen Shoulder
There are a few things to keep in mind when trying to sleep with a frozen shoulder.
- First, you want to make sure that you are as comfortable as possible. This means finding a position that doesn’t put any pressure on your shoulder.
- You may need to experiment a bit to find the right position. A good way to start is by lying on your back with a pillow under your head and another under your arm.
- If this isn’t comfortable, you can try lying on your side with a pillow between your legs. You may also want to try sleeping in a reclining chair or propping yourself up with pillows.
- Once you find a comfortable position, it’s important to stay in it for the entire night. Moving around will only make the pain worse.
- If you’re still having trouble sleeping, there are a few other things you can try. Putting a heating pad on your shoulder for 20-30 minutes before bed can help loosen up the muscles and make it easier to fall asleep.
- You can also take an over-the-counter pain reliever like ibuprofen or acetaminophen before bedtime. Just be sure not to exceed the recommended dosage.
- With some patience and trial and error, you should be able to find a way to sleep comfortably despite your frozen shoulder.
When to See a Doctor for Frozen Shoulder
If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, it is important to see a doctor:
- Shoulder pain that does not improve with over-the-counter medication or home treatment
- Shoulder pain that interferes with your daily activities
- Shoulder weakness
- Inability to move your shoulder through its full range of motion
- Sudden onset of shoulder pain