Frozen shoulder syndrome, also known as adhesive capsulitis, is a condition that causes stiffness, pain, and limited range of motion in the shoulder joint. It typically occurs in individuals between the ages of 40 and 60 and can be a frustrating and debilitating condition if not treated properly. As an orthopaedic specialist, Dr. Nelson is well-equipped to help patients understand and manage this condition.

Causes of Frozen Shoulder Syndrome

The exact causes of frozen shoulder syndrome are not clear, but there are several factors that can increase your risk of developing this condition. Some of these factors include:

Injury or surgery: Individuals who have recently undergone surgery or experienced an injury to their shoulder may be at a higher risk for developing frozen shoulder syndrome.

Medical conditions: Certain medical conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, and thyroid disorders can also increase your chances of developing this condition.

Prolonged immobilization: Long periods of immobilization due to a fracture or other injuries can lead to frozen shoulder syndrome.

Symptoms of Frozen Shoulder Syndrome

The main symptoms of frozen shoulder syndrome include:

Pain: You may experience mild to severe pain in your shoulder joint.

Stiffness: Your shoulder joint may become stiff and difficult to move.

Limited range of motion: The range of motion in your shoulder joint may be significantly limited, making it difficult to perform everyday tasks.

These symptoms can worsen over time if left untreated, so it’s essential to seek medical attention if you suspect you have frozen shoulder syndrome.

Diagnosis of Frozen Shoulder Syndrome

Dr. Nelson will perform a thorough physical examination to evaluate your shoulder joint and range of motion. He may also order imaging tests such as x-rays or an MRI to rule out other conditions. A diagnosis of frozen shoulder syndrome is made when the shoulder joint capsule becomes thick and tight, limiting movement.

Treatment Options for Frozen Shoulder Syndrome

There are several non-surgical treatment options available that can help alleviate your symptoms and improve your shoulder function. These options include:

Physical Therapy: A physical therapist can design a program of targeted exercises and stretches to help you regain range of motion and flexibility in your shoulder joint.

Steroid Injections: Corticosteroid injections can help reduce inflammation and pain in your shoulder joint, allowing you to move more freely.

Anti-Inflammatory Medications: Dr. Nelson may prescribe non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to help reduce pain and inflammation in your shoulder.

Heat or Cold Therapy: Applying heat or cold to your shoulder can help reduce pain and stiffness.

In rare cases, surgery may be necessary to treat frozen shoulder syndrome. This is typically reserved for individuals who have not responded to other treatment options.

Prevention of Frozen Shoulder Syndrome

While there is no surefire way to prevent frozen shoulder syndrome, there are several things you can do to reduce your risk:

Maintain good posture: Practicing proper posture can help keep your shoulder joints healthy and flexible.

Engage in regular exercise: Regular exercise can help maintain the strength and flexibility of your shoulder muscles and ligaments.

Manage medical conditions: If you have a medical condition such as diabetes, it’s essential to manage it properly to reduce your risk of developing frozen shoulder syndrome.

Frozen shoulder syndrome can be a frustrating and painful condition, but with the right treatment, you can get back to living your life to the fullest. If you are experiencing pain or stiffness in your shoulder, don’t wait to seek treatment. Contact Dr. Nelson at Alpine Orthopaedic Specialists to learn more about your treatment options and take the first step towards relieving your pain and improving your shoulder function.