Everyone can experience some joint pain in their lives, but what about joint pain in your shoulder that doesn’t seem to go away? If you were recently injured or recovering from a medical procedure that kept you from using your arm, then you might experience some pain, stiffness, and reduced range of motion. The shoulder joint is actually the joint with the widest range of motion in the whole body, so if you start to lose mobility then you will definitely notice how it affects your arm movements as well. Frozen shoulder is a condition that can occur due to limited use or temporary immobility of the shoulder joint. Look for “orthopedic doctors near me” if you want to find out whether your shoulder pain and stiffness is actually frozen shoulder.
Understanding Frozen Shoulder
The medical term for frozen shoulder is adhesive capsulitis and refers to the capsule of the shoulder joint thickening and tightening around other parts of the joint, which leads to pain, stiffness, and eventually a decrease in mobility of that shoulder and arm. Frozen shoulder is most commonly associated with occurring after an injury or medical procedure, though it can also develop due to conditions like diabetes that can negatively impact joint cartilage and soft tissues.
Frozen shoulder typically occurs in three phases. The first phase is called the freezing stage, which is when you start to notice pain and stiffness in the shoulder joint that doesn’t seem to go away. The second phase is known as the frozen stage, which is when the pain and stiffness in the joint have started to impact range of motion and may even prevent you from using the shoulder joint at all. The final phase is called the thawing stage, when you start to regain mobility and the pain and stiffness subside.
Diagnosing Frozen Shoulder
Talk to your orthopedic doctor about any pain and stiffness in your shoulder early on so that they can do a physical examination and test how your mobility may be affected. An orthopedic doctor may also want to run diagnostic imaging tests like an X-ray or CT scan to view the joint structure or how the soft tissues inside the joint have been negatively impacted. Once your doctor has diagnosed frozen shoulder, they can determine what stage you are in and determine what treatments will be most appropriate so you can experience lasting relief.
4 Treatments for Frozen Shoulder
Most of the time, conservative treatment approaches to frozen shoulder will help address the pain and stiffness while also working to preserve your mobility in the shoulder.
1. At-Home Remedies
You might want to try at-home remedies at first to address your shoulder pain and stiffness. Over-the-counter pain medications like ibuprofen can help temporarily relieve your pain and also reduce inflammation that may occur in and around the shoulder joint. Applying ice or cold compresses can also help soothe your pain while also addressing inflammation.
2. Stretches and Exercises
Stretches and exercises can help with frozen shoulder in a variety of ways. Stretching your arms and shoulders can help improve blood flow and nutrients to the area and also promote flexibility in the supportive muscles of the shoulder. Your doctor can talk to you about certain shoulder exercises that help prevent any more loss of mobility and even increase your range of motion.
3. Physical Therapy
Your doctor may also recommend meeting with a physical therapist to practice more therapeutic stretches and exercises with a trained professional. Physical therapy will address your pain symptoms and stiffness in the shoulder. They will also assess your current range of motion in your shoulder and determine how to gain back any lost mobility.
4. More Invasive Options
In more severe cases of frozen shoulder, your orthopedic doctor may recommend more invasive options for treatment when more conservative approaches have not provided you with enough relief. Steroid injections go directly into the affected joint and help reduce pain and inflammation in the area for longer periods of time so you can also work on mobility. Your doctor may also talk to you about surgical options as well.
Visit an orthopedic doctor at AICA Orthopedics in Tucker if you are worried about frozen shoulder and want to get started on effective treatments so you can experience pain relief and lasting results!