Frozen Shoulder

Frozen shoulder is a tightening of the shoulder joint. It results in a loss of movement and pain at the shoulder joint. In frozen shoulder: This condition may get worse over time. After a period of time, the shoulder may also improve spontaneously. This improvement is called thawing.

  • Causes

    Frozen shoulder is caused by tightening of the soft tissues. This includes the capsule that surrounds the joint.

    The cause of the tightening is usually not known.

    Frozen Shoulder
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  • Definition

    Frozen shoulder is a tightening of the shoulder joint. It results in a loss of movement and pain at the shoulder joint.

    In frozen shoulder:

    • Active range of motion is lost—You cannot move your shoulder well.
    • Passive range of motion is lost—Someone trying to move your arm at the shoulder joint will find it stiff and difficult to move.

    This condition may get worse over time. After a period of time, the shoulder may also improve spontaneously. This improvement is called thawing.

  • Diagnosis

    The doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history and perform a physical exam. The doctor will test the range of motion in your shoulder.

    Testing may include:

    • X-rays
    • MRI scan
    • Arthrogram

  • Prevention

    Frozen shoulder may recur. To help prevent frozen shoulder:


    • Do regular
      strength training
      and
      range-of-motion
      exercises. This will help maintain a strong and flexible shoulder joint.
    • Seek prompt treatment for a shoulder injury.
    • Do activities that use your shoulder joint regularly.
    • After injury to an upper extremity (such as, hand, wrist, elbow), always move the shoulder through a full range of motion several times a day. This is true even when lying in bed for an illness such as a lung infection.

  • Risk Factors

    Frozen shoulder is more likely to occur in women between the ages of 40-65 years old.

    Factors that increase your risk for frozen shoulder include:

    • Diabetes
    • Thyroid problems
    • Disc problems in your neck
    • Injuries to the shoulder
    • Illness or injury that forces you to keep the shoulder immobile for a period of time
    • Heart
      and/or lung disease, during which time you do not move the shoulder normally

  • Symptoms

    Symptoms include:

    • Painful shoulder
    • Much reduced movement of the arm at the shoulder joint, either by yourself or by someone else

  • Treatment

    Treatment focuses on:

    • Relieving pain
    • Restoring function and range of motion to the shoulder