Frozen shoulder is a condition that can occur when a shoulder is not being used enough, such as after an injury or when recovering from a surgery. The tissue around the shoulder stiffens and scar tissue forms, causing pain when the shoulder is moved and limited movement. This condition tends to gradually worsen and then slowly improve, and can take a year or more to heal.
Frozen shoulder is most commonly experienced among older adults, and more often by women than men. To diagnose this condition, a doctor will perform a physical exam to see how well you can move your shoulder to determine whether you’re experiencing any pain or stiffness when it’s moved. X-rays may be used to help rule out alternative explanations for any symptoms you’re experiencing.
If a diagnosis of frozen shoulder is made, treatment will typically begin with anti-inflammatory drugs, applying heat to the shoulder, and stretching. The objective of treatment will be to reduce pain and restore function. Pain medications and cortisone injections may also be used during this stage.
In instances when conservative treatments fail to provide sufficient relief, surgery may be recommended. There are two surgical procedures that are commonly used to treat frozen shoulder, and they are often performed in unison to provide the maximum benefit:
- Shoulder manipulation under anesthesia – You will be put to sleep using general anesthesia, and a doctor will stretch out your shoulder to make it looser and increase its range of motion.
- Shoulder arthroscopy – Using pencil-sized instruments inserted through small incisions, the surgeon will cut the sections of tissue in the shoulder that are limiting movement.
If you’re experiencing symptoms of frozen shoulder and would like to explore your treatment options, schedule an appointment with Dr. Ira Guttentag at Florida Medical Orthopaedics, Sports Medicine & Spine. Dr. Guttentag is widely known for his expertise regarding the shoulder, and he would be pleased to treat your problem with frozen shoulder so you can return to the healthy lifestyle you desire.