Frozen shoulder, how to regain mobility

Written by: Dr. José Carlos Valdés Casas
Published: | Updated: 05/02/2019
Edited by: Top Doctors®

Frozen shoulder is a condition also known as retractable capsulitis that causes progressive decline in mobility shoulder inflammation and retraction of the ligaments of the glenohumeral joint. The cause of this disease is unknown and is more common in females and in diabetic patients.

Symptoms of frozen shoulder

Symptoms of frozen shoulder

In the initial phase, the shoulder is very painful and marked nocturnal pain. As the disease progresses over time and enters the freezing phase, the pain decreases but the shoulder gradually becomes rigid, less mobile and this lasts for many months.

Frozen shoulder Diagnosis

The diagnosis of retractile capsulitis is clinical and made the doctor or specialist orthopedist through history and clinical examination of the patient. The complementary diagnostic tests are of little help, but an ultrasound and X-rays allow other causes of painful shoulder.


Frozen shoulder recovery

The natural history of this disease is spontaneous recovery to 18 months, although the weather is very variable. Frozen shoulder will go through three phases:

First, the inflammatory phase, which can be very painful.

  • Then you will phase stiffness or shoulder freeze, with less pain and onset of severe joint stiffness.
  • In the third phase or resolution it is ultimately produced the progressive recovery of mobility.

In some patients, marked limitation of mobility can stay without actually recover spontaneously.


Frozen shoulder treatment

Treatment should be individualized according to each patient and the point where the disease is.

Also the initial inflammatory phase with severe shoulder pain, take anti - inflammatory and analgesic agree. You must also keep the shoulder in relative rest, avoiding movements that cause pain. The placement of one or two intra-articular injections of delayed-action corticoids are very useful to relieve pain and shorten healing time of this disease.

There is also the possibility of semi - invasive treatments in a pain clinic. By submitting the painful picture will be advised perform exercises very smooth and painless capsular stretching several times a day.

frozen shoulder treatment

In the advanced stage of frozen shoulder when the patient has a marked decreased mobility, but less pain, the physician will recommend a mild anti - inflammatory treatment. He also prescribe stretching exercises Capsular to perform several times a day as well as physiotherapy but always without causing shoulder pain.

The vast majority of patients with patience positively respond to this treatment if you do the exercises continuously.

There is scientific evidence that collagen tissue shrinkage, as the retractable capsulitis, with the passage of time and applying multiple cycles of stretching regains its initial length.

The various types of exercises for the shoulder stretch in all directions must be made carefully, slowly, until you feel tension or discomfort in the shoulder, this is the sign that is stretching the ligament is shrunk. This feeling of discomfort or tension must be maintained for a few seconds and then return to the starting position.

frozen shoulder exercises

It is recommended that 10 stretches in each of the five positions and repeat five times a day. Patient making a capsular stretching exercise shoulder


Treatment of frozen shoulder arthroscopy

If after properly conducted conservative treatment for months, no shoulder mobility recovered, will be recommended shoulder arthroscopy to mobilize the shoulder under anesthesia. This procedure is rarely indicated since the vast majority of patients recover with conservative treatment.

The postoperative period is very important and physiotherapy treatment of capsular stretching be applied several times a day, even with the aid of anesthesia to avoid any pain, and recover an arc of acceptable mobility in a few weeks, although full recovery it can last for a while.

*Translated with Google translator. We apologize for any imperfection

By Dr. José Carlos Valdés Casas
Orthopaedic Surgery

Dr. Jose Carlos Valdes Casas has for years full to shoulder pathology in all its facets, sporting and rheumatic, degenerative or traumatic dedication. For treatment uses both arthroscopy and open surgery classical and conservative treatment, as a function of the needs of each patient. For many years a member of the European Society of surgery of shoulder and elbow.

*Translated with Google translator. We apologize for any imperfection

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