The shoulder joint is a ‘ball and socket joint’. There is a misconception that any ailment related to shoulder is frozen shoulder, but there are quite a few ailments related to shoulder, such as –
- Muscle/Tendon tear (Rotator cuff tear)
- Erosion of shoulder bones (Arthritis of Shoulder joint)
- Deposits of Calcium in the shoulder muscles (Calcific tendinitis)
- Frequent Shoulder dislocation
Symptoms and Causes
Sudden jerk or blow to the shoulder can cause frozen shoulder. The chance of this happening in diabetic patients is five times higher. Men / women above 45 are more susceptible to frozen shoulder. With frozen shoulder the action of taking the arms behind for combing / plaiting hair becomes painful for women. For men, it is painful to reach out for their wallets in the back pockets of trousers.
There are 3 stages of frozen shoulder –
The time frame of each stage varies from patient to patient.
Stage of Pain: Pain is intense. Usually refereed to the mid arm region .Pain may become unbearable at night. This stage may last for 2-3 months .
Second stage: Stiffness. The pain factor goes down steadily, and now the chief complaint is shoulder Stiffness where particular movements elicit severe pain . This also may last for 2-3 months
Stage of Resolution: Slowly the shoulder Stiffness decreases and the joint starts opening up .
About the treatment plan for frozen shoulder
The first stage involves medicines and exercises under the supervision of a physiotherapist for 2 to 3 months. 90% of patients improve with this treatment.
For the 10% patients who do not respond to medicines and exercises, a procedure called Hydrodialation is recommended. Hydrodialation is a day care procedure in which medicines are injected directly into the shoulder under regional anesthesia. Within one week of this procedure, movements improve by about 40% and upto 80% improvement is observed within one month. The pain felt by patient in the night time is also reduced by 90% to 100%.
About 2% of frozen shoulder patients do not respond to either of the treatments methods. These patients need to
undergo an ‘Arthroscopic Surgery’. Its a minimally invasive ‘Key Hole Surgery’ in which the complete surgery is carried out through 2-3 small holes made in the shoulder. The patient has to stay in the hospital for a day. Because of minimal pain, the patient can start shoulder exercises immediately after the surgery. This surgery has a very high success rate.
FROZEN SHOULDER CAN BE COMPLETELY CURED AND PATIENTS CAN RESUME THEIR DAILY ROUTINE AT THE EARLIEST.
EARLY DIAGNOSIS AND TREATMENT IS THE KEY.