Frozen Shoulder refers to a thickening and contracture of the capsule surrounding the shoulder joint.
Frozen shoulder is characterised by pain and loss of motion or stiffness in the shoulder. It affects about two percent of the general population. Frozen shoulder most commonly affects patients between the ages of 40 and 60 years, with no clear predisposition based on sex, arm dominance, or occupation.
- Frozen shoulder often occurs in individuals with diabetes, affecting 10 percent to 20 percent of these individuals. Other medical problems associated with increased risk of frozen shoulder include hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, Parkinson’s disease, and cardiac disease or surgery.
What do I feel?
- Pain is usually dull or aching.
- Increasing stiffness in the shoulder.
- Freezing stage – the patient has slow onset of pain. As the pain worsens, the shoulder becomes stiffer. This stage may last from six weeks to nine months.
- Frozen stage – is marked by a slow improvement in pain, but the stiffness remains. This stage generally lasts four to nine months.
- Thawing stage – during which shoulder motion slowly returns toward normal. This generally lasts five months to twenty six months.
What can I do?
- Frozen shoulder will generally get better on its own. However, this takes time, occasionally up to two to three years. Treatment is aimed at pain control and restoring motion.
- A referral to a specialist may be made for patients not progressing as expected, to look at further options to manage the shoulder.