A patient slipped and fell while taking out the trash. The fall resulted in a dislocated shoulder. The injury left her unable to move her shoulder for a prolonged period of time - eventually causing frozen shoulder, also known as adhesive capsulitis.
Frozen shoulder is a condition where you experience pain and stiffness in your shoulder joint capsule, eventually losing mobility - hence the name frozen shoulder.
Signs and symptoms can occur gradually or within a short period of time. For some people it may happen overnight, for others it will gradually get worse over the course of weeks or even months.
Symptoms - you will start experiencing pain in the shoulder and then your range of motion will steadily decrease. You may start to notice that you can’t lift your arm past your shoulder, then eventually not at all.
How does it happen?
Your bones, ligaments, and tendons that make up your shoulders are encased in what’s called a capsule. Frozen shoulder happens when this capsule thickens and as a result, tightens, causing your shoulder to become immobile.
Things that put you at more at risk -
The most common cause of frozen shoulder is shoulder surgery. Most shoulder surgeries cause you to be in a sling for a prolonged period of time. This immobility of your shoulder makes you more susceptible to frozen shoulder.
How is frozen shoulder diagnosed?
A physical therapy can diagnose frozen shoulder by moving the arm around and documenting the patient's range of motion.
Your doctor can use imaging tools such as X-Rays, MRIs, or an ultrasound to rule out other possible causes of the pain and stiffness such as shoulder dislocation, torn rotator cuff or arthritis.
Frozen shoulder treatment -
Some treatment options include…
Thanks for reading!
Dr. Tony Tanzi: Physical Therapist, Triathlete, Runner, Performance Coach