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What are the Signs and Symptoms of Frozen Shoulder?

man suffering from shoulder painAre you suffering from shoulder pain with limited movement in the joint? This is just one symptom of a condition called frozen shoulder, which can begin gradually, and then deteriorate over time.

The shoulder condition, also called adhesive capsulitis, begins with stiffness and pain in the joint accompanied with a limited range of motion. It can be brought on by overuse of the shoulder or as a secondary complication of diabetes or stroke. This condition causes scar tissue to grow around the shoulder joint, making movement of the shoulder painful and difficult.

At Mirza Orthopedics, our orthopedic surgeons will thoroughly explain the signs and symptoms of frozen shoulder and describe the available treatment options.

What Causes Frozen Shoulder?

A healthy shoulder joint consists of bones, tendons, and ligaments that are encapsulated in connective tissue. When the connective tissue begins to tighten around the joint, the disorder occurs and reduces mobility of the joint.

This condition is more likely to occur when you stop using the joint in a natural manner due to:

  • Injury
  • Pain
  • Diabetes
  • Stroke
  • Other chronic health conditions

If you have any shoulder problem or injury where you don’t work to keep a full range of motion, frozen shoulder can occur. The condition can also strike:

  • After injury or surgery
  • People from 40 to 70 years of age and older
  • People with chronic health problems like heart disease, Parkinson’s disease or tuberculosis
  • Postmenopausal women
  • Women at a higher frequency than men

What Are the Symptoms of Frozen Shoulder?

This condition usually advances slowly in a series of three stages. Each stage can last for several months. These stages include:

  • Freezing Stage: Small shoulder movements hurt and the range of motion begins to lessen.
  • Frozen Stage: Although pain may begin to lessen, your shoulder will become more stiff and harder to move.
  • Thawing Stage: Range of motion in the shoulder begins to return.

For some, the pain becomes worse at night, disrupting sleep.

How Is Frozen Shoulder Diagnosed?

Your doctor will thoroughly examine your shoulder and may diagnose the condition if limited mobility is present. An X-ray will determine if the shoulder pain is from another source like a broken bone or arthritis.

What Are the Treatment Options for Frozen Shoulder?

Effective treatments for frozen shoulder usually begin with prescribing nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication (NSAIDs), applying heat to the affected shoulder, and gently stretching the area. Applying ice to the shoulder is also effective in addition to cortisone injections to reduce pain and swelling. Undergoing physical therapy can also help recover range of motion in the shoulder.

This disorder can take one to three years to heal. When traditional treatment sometimes fails to bring relief, surgery to loosen the tight tissue around the shoulder might be the best option. Two surgical options are currently in use to correct the condition.

In the first option, called manipulation under anesthesia, the surgeon moves your shoulder into positions that stretch the tight tissue while you are asleep. The second option is the use of an arthroscope to cut through tight tissue and any accompanying scar tissue. Both surgical options can be performed in one surgical visit.

Where Can I Get Evaluated for Frozen Shoulder on Long Island?

At Mirza Orthopedics, our Smithtown-based office offers the leading surgical and nonsurgical treatments for all kinds of hand and upper extremity injuries and conditions. As the premier orthopedic center on Long Island for hand, wrist, elbow and shoulder conditions, we treat patients of all ages in Suffolk County, Nassau County, and more. Our goal is to provide you quality care in a caring and comfortable environment.

If you believe you might be suffering from frozen shoulder, call us at (631) 361-5302 today to make an appointment or click the tab on our home page to request an appointment.

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