Frozen shoulder is a painful condition that dramatically limits the use of your arm. Your shoulder is a complex ball-and-socket joint, lined by cushioning tissues and supported by tendons, ligaments, and muscles. It normally has the greatest range of motion of any joint in your body. In frozen shoulder, also call adhesive capsulitis, tissues in the shoulder stiffen or scar tissue forms, limiting movement in your shoulder. Imaging studies (CT, MRI) usually fail to identify any structural abnormality.
Frozen shoulder usually responds well to treatment, so why wait to get relief from your discomfort? Dignity Health - St. Rose Dominican hospitals has the resources you need to make a full recovery from frozen shoulder in Las Vegas and Henderson, NV. To learn more, Find a Doctor or take our joint pain assessment.
Frozen Shoulder Causes & Symptoms
Frozen shoulder occurs when the tissues of the capsule (non-bone) part of the shoulder joint become thick and stiff. At the same time, additional bands of tissue called adhesions form and “stick” to other structures in the joint. Most people with frozen shoulder also have lower levels of synovial (lubricating) fluid in the joint.
No one knows what causes these changes to occur in the tissues of the shoulder joint. However, certain factors can increase your risk of developing frozen shoulder, including:
- Certain surgeries, including open heart surgery and shoulder surgery
- Problems with the cervical discs in the neck
- Hormonal changes due to menopause
- Medical conditions such as diabetes, thyroid problems, or Parkinson’s disease
- Shoulder immobilization, such as wearing a sling for a long period of time after a shoulder fracture
Frozen shoulder can come on gradually, so it’s important to note early signs and symptoms and seek treatment. Early signs include decreased range of motion in the shoulder, pain, and stiffness in the joint. Usually, frozen shoulder affects only one shoulder, not both.
Frozen Shoulder Treatment & Prevention
Treatment and prevention strategies for frozen shoulder include minimizing the risk of developing the condition, halting its progression, and restoring function. Because frozen shoulder progresses through three stages (freezing, frozen, thawed), it is important to diagnose the condition as early as possible. If you receive a diagnosis in the freezing stage, physical therapy may help you avoid the frozen stage.
Frozen shoulder usually goes away on its own within two years without treatment. However, you will lose the function of your arm during this time. Therefore, it is important to get treatment as soon as you notice symptoms.
It’s not entirely possible to prevent frozen shoulder. You may be able to reduce your chances of developing the condition by knowing if you’re at high risk and frequently checking your shoulder movement. If you notice any stiffness or a reduced range of motion, contact your doctor. Starting physical therapy early will help prevent the condition from getting worse, reduce pain, and keep your shoulder working properly.
Dignity Health - St. Rose Dominican hospitals provides treatment for frozen shoulder in Las Vegas and Henderson, NV, as a part of our orthopedic services.