Frozen shoulder, also known as adhesive capsulitis, is a common condition that affects the shoulder joint. It is characterised by pain, stiffness, and a decrease in range of motion. In this article, we will explore what frozen shoulder pain feels like, the causes and treatment options, as well as steps you can take to prevent it.
What Frozen Shoulder Pain Feels Like
Frozen shoulder typically develops gradually over time and is characterised by pain and stiffness in the shoulder joint. The pain is usually a dull, aching sensation that worsens when you move your arm, particularly when you try to lift it overhead. The stiffness can make it difficult to perform everyday tasks, such as reaching for items on a high shelf or brushing your hair.
Frozen shoulder pain typically affects one shoulder at a time, but it can occur in both shoulders in some cases. The condition often develops slowly over the course of several weeks or months, and symptoms can persist for up to three years.
The exact cause of frozen shoulder is not well understood, but several factors can contribute to its development. For example, a previous injury to the shoulder, medical conditions such as diabetes, or a period of immobility or inactivity can increase the risk of developing frozen shoulder.
In some cases, frozen shoulder occurs after a person has been recovering from an injury or surgery, when the shoulder has been kept in a sling or brace for an extended period. The shoulder joint can become stiff and painful due to the lack of movement and exercise.
Treatment of Frozen Shoulder
The treatment of frozen shoulder depends on the severity of the symptoms and the individual’s medical history. In many cases, physiotherapy can be effective in improving range of motion and reducing pain. Your physiotherapist may use techniques such as stretching, strengthening exercises, and manual therapy to help you regain mobility in your shoulder.
Medications, such as pain relievers and anti-inflammatory drugs, can also help manage the symptoms of frozen shoulder. In some cases, cortisone injections may be recommended to reduce inflammation and improve mobility.
In severe cases, surgery may be necessary to help relieve symptoms. The procedure is typically performed as an outpatient procedure under general anaesthesia and involves releasing the tight capsule around the shoulder joint.
There are several steps you can take to help prevent frozen shoulder, such as:
- Maintaining shoulder mobility: Regular exercise, such as stretching and strengthening exercises, can help maintain shoulder mobility and prevent stiffness.
- Avoiding sudden movements: Sudden movements, such as lifting heavy items, can cause injury and increase the risk of frozen shoulder.
- Keeping the shoulder joint active: If you have been recovering from an injury or surgery, it’s important to keep the shoulder joint active and moving to prevent stiffness and pain.
Frozen shoulder is a painful condition that can affect mobility. Pain, stiffness, and a decrease in range of motion is what frozen shoulder pain feels like. The condition can be treated with physiotherapy, medications, and in severe cases, surgery.