WHAT IS FROZEN SHOULDER?
Frozen Shoulder can be an extremely painful condition in which the shoulder is completely or partially restricted in all its movements.
HOW DOES FROZEN SHOULDER OCCUR?
Frozen shoulder often starts out of the blue. It can however be associated with diabetes, high cholesterol, heart disease and can also be seen in patients with scar tissue in their hands, a condition called Dupuytren’s contracture. It can also follow a mild injury to the shoulder.
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF FROZEN SHOULDER:
The typical symptoms are pain, stiffness, and limitation in the range of movement of a shoulder.
Frozen shoulder typically goes through THREE phases:
– the ‘freezing’, painful phase.
This typically lasts 2-9 months. The first symptom is usually pain with stiffness and limited movement then also gradually building up. The pain is usually worse at night especially when you lie on the affected side.
– the ‘frozen’, stiff (or adhesive) phase.
This typically lasts 4-12 months. This phase usually see’s the pain gradually ease but stiffness and limited movement remains. In some cases this can even worsen. All movements of the shoulder are affected. At this stage the muscles around the shoulder may start to waste as they are not being used.
– the ‘thawing’, recovery phase.
This typically lasts anywhere between five months and four years. The pain and stiffness gradually ease and movement slowly returns to normal, or near normal.
There is a vast variation in the severity and length of symptoms with this condition. Untreated, symptoms commonly last between 2 to 3 years in total. In some cases it is much less than this. In a minority of cases, symptoms can last for several years.