Frozen Shoulder: What To Do And What Not To

Frozen Shoulder: What To Do And What Not To
Frozen Shoulder: What To Do And What Not To

Ever woken up with a stiff and painful shoulder? This is a situation where one experiences a condition that is called a Frozen Shoulder. A Frozen Shoulder can be a real pain, making even the simplest tasks difficult. But what causes this pain, and does it require medical attention? Here, Dr. Pavan Kumar Chebbi, Joint Replacement Surgeon, Orthopaedic Surgeon, Apollo Spectra Hospital, Bangalore, tells you all about a frozen shoulder.

What is a Frozen Shoulder?

A Frozen Shoulder is basically a loss of mobility with a lot of pain and stiffness around a joint. In medical terms, it is known as Adhesive Capsulitis. However, to ease the pain, there are certain dos and don’ts that one needs to follow. But before digging into this, let’s understand the three phases of a Frozen Shoulder.

Three Stages of Frozen Shoulder

Freezing Phase: The stage where the shoulder gets stiff and painful, losing movement. This stage can last for 6 to 9 weeks.

Frozen Phase: As the name suggests, at this stage, the shoulder starts freezing and this lasts for 4 to 6 months.

Thawing Phase: During the third stage the shoulder begins its recovery stage and might last between 6 months to 2 years.

Mostly people would experience a frozen shoulder during the first two stages as this is when one finds it difficult to manage their day-to-day activities. People would be prone to this condition if they have a medical condition, past injury or if a person has not been able to move their shoulders for a long period of time, it could lead to frozen shoulders.

Certain dos for a frozen shoulder

Motion exercises are a great way to relieve Frozen Shoulder pain and stiffness. Slow stretching and rotating exercises increase the range of motion and prevent further stiffness.

Applying heat to the affected area can also be effective in reducing pain and stiffness. Taking a warm shower or using a heating pad can be a simple way to ease the discomfort.

Physical therapy is an effective way to manage Frozen Shoulders. A physical therapist will ease the pain with exercises that are specifically designed to improve shoulder mobility and strength.

Anti-inflammatory medication, such as ibuprofen, can help to reduce pain and inflammation associated with a Frozen Shoulder. Such medication should be taken under medical supervision or as recommended by a doctor.

It is important to note that in case the identified symptoms do not reduce, consulting a doctor is necessary in order to find out if an MRI scan is required. This is needed to know if there are any other pathologies of the shoulder.

Furthermore, Arthroscopic surgeries are especially beneficial in active individuals, and in patients who show delayed recovery from conservative treatment. In the case of surgeries done on a daycare basis, post-operative recovery may be fairly quick. When followed with a good physiotherapy protocol the prognosis is excellent.

A few don’ts for a Frozen Shoulder

It is important to avoid overusing the affected shoulder as this can cause further damage and exacerbate the condition. So, it is important to avoid any activities that cause pain or discomfort in the shoulder. Also, forceful stretching can cause more harm than good in the case of Frozen Shoulders. Instead, it is important to perform gentle range-of-motion exercises that do not cause pain or discomfort.

On the other hand, lifting heavy weights can put a strain on the shoulder joint and worsen the condition, so it is important to avoid lifting weights until the shoulder has regained full mobility and strength. Additionally, prolonged immobilisation can cause the shoulder joint to become even stiffer and more restricted. Hence, one needs to continue with gentle range-of-motion exercises and avoid prolonged periods of immobilisation.

Lastly, it is important to consult a doctor if any pain or discomfort in the shoulder increases as ignoring the pain can lead to further damage and complications. Hence, immediate medical assistance is advisable.

Take away

Dr. Pavan Kumar Chebbi concluded, “Frozen Shoulder can be a frustrating and painful condition, but there are ways to manage and prevent further damage. With proper care and management frozen shoulders can be treated effectively, and mobility can be restored to the shoulder joints. So, consider the dos and don’ts along with medical advice and get back to living life to the fullest.”



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