Frozen shoulder has been listed as one of the top 3 most painful conditions by the NHS. The organisation has highlighted the conditions which cause the worst pain and the largest disruption to daily life. While cluster headaches got the number one spot, frozen shoulder wasn’t far behind at spot number three.
According to the NHS, in patients with frozen shoulder, the joint can become so stiff and tight, that it is almost impossible to carry out normal movements. Here, we will look at what frozen shoulder is, and how it can be treated.
What is frozen shoulder?
Frozen shoulder is diagnosed when you have pain and stiffness within the shoulder joint. Also known as adhesive capsulitis, it can be a really painful condition that can last anywhere from one to five years. It occurs when damage has been caused to the shoulder joint lining, known as the shoulder capsule.
How is frozen shoulder treated?
The majority of the time, a frozen shoulder is treated non-surgically. The three main non-surgical treatments include pain relief medication, steroid injections and physiotherapy. Steroid injections aren’t frequently used, but they can provide relief from excess swelling.
Often, a mixture of treatments is used depending upon how painful or swollen the shoulder is. Due to the side effects it can cause, strong painkiller medication prescribed by doctors can only be used for short periods of time.
In order to help you regain movement within the shoulder, physiotherapy is highly effective. They will teach you stretching exercises and provide you with pain relief and good posture advice.
When might surgery for frozen shoulder be required?
Although the majority of patients are treated non-surgically, in some surgery may be the best solution. The procedure carried out to treat frozen shoulder is known as arthroscopic capsular release.
In the procedure, a tiny camera is inserted into the joint of the shoulder. Small incisions are made so the surgeon can strategically insert instruments, using the camera to help see what they are doing. In order to help the patient achieve better mobility, the shoulder capsule is cut to give the joint a lot more freedom.
There are other surgical techniques used, but the arthroscopic procedure tends to be the most common. The trouble is, after the surgery, it isn’t uncommon for patients to experience a lot more pain. This can lead them to avoid certain movements. For this reason, physical therapy is started almost immediately after the procedure has been performed.
While frozen shoulder is known to be one of the most painful conditions you can suffer with, treatments are available. To discover which treatment option is right for you, book a consultation with a shoulder specialist today.