The term “frozen shoulder” is often misused
The shoulder region is actually made up by four distinct joints and a host of muscles and ligaments that offer it support. Because it is much more than just one joint, shoulder pain usually stems from complex problems which need a proper assessment to determine the right course of treatment. Often used to refer to any shoulder problem in which there is pain and loss of function, frozen shoulder, much like the shoulder joint itself, is more complex.
What is frozen shoulder?
Adhesive capsulitis, more commonly known as frozen shoulder refers to inflammation of the tissues within the joint capsule that surrounds the shoulder and symptoms include loss of movement and a high degree of pain during even simple movements. As the tissues become more inflamed and less movement occurs, they shorten and stick together. Once this occurs, any movement can cause sharp pain.
A frozen shoulder will go through three stages if left untreated:
- Freezing: the slow development phase, usually following an acute injury. During this phase, pain may not be felt unless you exceed your shoulder’s (lessening) capacity for movement.
- Frozen: as the fluid in the joint thickens and the tissues shorten, range of motion is further limited; pain often accompanies this phase.
- Thawing: inflammation begins to reduce, range of motion returns and pain subsides.
This whole process can take as long as 18-24 months. While it may get better over time without treatment, recovery is most effective when aided by a treatment plan.
How we help frozen shoulder in Houston
While frozen shoulder can and will resolve itself given enough time, you may never return to a full range of motion without treatment. To this end, an early diagnosis is important, as the earlier we detect it, the quicker we can help reverse the condition. Through rest, ice and heat, stretching, targeted exercise and anti-inflammatory medication, frozen shoulder is reversible. If you are experiencing lingering shoulder pain of any kind, give our office in Houston a call to schedule an appointment today.