Frozen shoulder

This enigmatic condition mostly affects females of the age group 45 – 60. The cause is unknown and it can lead to severe pain and restricted motion. If the sufferer is patient spontaneous resolutions can usually be expected. It is this self-limiting nature of the condition which invites many “alternative” therapists to have a field day with successful treatments, given the fact that if they continue for long enough they will be able to guarantee success.

In the severely painful phase various different modalities of treatment may be effective to relieve the pain including anti-inflammatory medication, cortisone injection and in rare intances the operation of “arthroscopic capsulectomy

In the picture taken by an arthroscope inside a frozen shoulder the severely swollen and inflamed capsule can be seen

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2 Responses to Frozen shoulder

  1. Sue says:

    I had ‘frozen shoulder’ in both shoulders at the same time at the age of 55. The “freezing stage” was the easiest as I was able to function with mild discomfort and was still playing tennis. The frozen stage started about 6 month’s later when I was forced to give up tennis as I could not lift either of my arms. I was out of action for about 12 months and could do very little. The pain at night was so excruciating and I resorted to sleeping in an upright position for the entire period. I couldn’t dress myself, had to shower as I couldnt get out of the bath anymore, small things like taking a ticket from a parking entrance became impossible. I had a cortisone injection into both shoulders but it had no effect at all. I had a manipulation under anasestic on one shoulder which also didnt help at all. Once the thawing period started I could feel it gradually easing up and day by day it became easier to move and the pain at night started decreasing.
    It is a waiting game, (which in my case was nearly 2 years) but at least you know that it will not carry on forever.

    • Joe de Beer says:

      This personal experience by Sue is such a good summary of what patients go through when suffering with a frozen shoulder. The fact that it always gets better in the end is such an important fact to realise for the sufferer. I agree with Sue that injections and especially manipulation under anaesthesia is of limited value. Of late we have found that arthroscopic capsulectomy is an a surgical procedure of value to speed up the recovery for those people who cannot wait that long due to work pressure or other reasons

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