Frozen shoulder (Adhesive capsulitis), shoulder pain syndrome - Description and treatment

Do you feel intense pain in your shoulder while moving and while resting? Does pain prevent you from sleeping? If mobility is restricted in all ways, but especially rotating the arm above shoulder level, you may suffer from frozen shoulder syndrome.

Warning:Do not use this or any other article on the internet to diagnose yourself. Only physicians can correctly diagnose patients. Do not postpone seeing your physician to resolve your health issues in time.

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Frozen shoulder - description, treatment
Obrázek : Frozen shoulder (Adhesive capsulitis), shoulder pain syndrome

Characteristics of Frozen Shoulder and its causes

Damage to the shoulder joint capsule goes by many names – frozen shoulder, petriarthritis humeroscapularis and adhesive capsulitis.

Shoulder pain syndrome is a disorder of the shoulder joint. Tendons and their attachments get damaged by reoccurring microtraumas (hard to notice injuries). Calcium deposits start forming in the affected area. Calcification of tendons and bursas (small sacks found around joints) are visible in x-ray images. Shoulder pain syndrome is accompanied by severe pain. It makes full mobility of the shoulder impossible.

Frozen shoulder is a form of shoulder pain syndrome. In cases of frozen shoulder syndrome, after the painful acute phase, the shoulder gradually stiffens or freezes.  This is a reaction of the fibrous capsule to the damage.

There is a wide range of causes of the frozen shoulder:

  • Injury to the shoulder, excess strain or chilling of the shoulder,
  • degenerative or inflammatory causes,
  • infectious and neurological causes.

There can be secondary metastases in the bone during lung, breast, thyroid, kidney or prostate cancer that lead to pain manifesting in the shoulder area.

Frozen shoulder syndrome treatment – rid yourself of the pain

Frozen shoulder treatment is based on  solving the cause.

The main aim of the treatment is to prevent pain occurring during shoulder pain syndrome. Pharmacological tools are used in the form of analgesics, non-steroid anti-rheumatics and local corticoids.

Physiotherapy and exercise are integral part of the treatment. We recommend some exercises from your physiotherapist. These will help you maintain or increase mobility in the shoulder.

  • Analgesics – pain supressing drugs.
  • Local corticoids – corticoids (steroid hormones used for its anti-inflammatory effect) administered locally.
  • Microtrauma – small and most often unnoticed injury.
  • Non-steroid anti-rheumatics – non-steroid drug having analgesic, anti- inflammatory and antipyretic effects.
  • Spondylosis – degenerative disease of vertebrae.
  • Bursa – a small sack found near joints and tendons that decreases friction in places of great pressure and movement.

Manual physiotherapy and lithotripsy (shock therapy) work very well in combination.

If followed by low-frequency pulsed magnetic therapy, it can significantly affect the whole of the treatment of this prolonged condition. This treatment contributes to mitigating pain and inflammation, and accelerates healing in general and return of mobility. Analgesic and healing effects with the support of anti-inflammatory effect help supress pain and inflammation. Vasodilating and metabolic-detoxifying effects can help in this complex treatment as well to promote absorption of bits of calcified deposits that were disrupted by lithotripsy. 

Surgical intervention is necessary in serious and rare cases – mostly in the form of arthroscopic removal of calcified deposits and adhesions.

Magnetic therapy is good to apply even after surgical intervention in order to accelerate healing.