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Frozen shoulder / Adhesive capsule


Why do you get Frozen shoulder? The capsule around the shoulder joint becomes affected and dumb, causing pain and stiffness. This can start after e.g. has fallen and injured the shoulder, after surgery of the shoulder, or without a clear cause. It is not known why the capsule reacts as it does. It is also not known why both pain and stiffness eventually disappear in most cases. Sometimes you also get Frozen shoulder / Adhesive capsulitis in the other arm, but it is unusual to get it in both arms at the same time. About three percent of the population gets a frozen shoulder. It is more common among women and the most common age to be affected is between 40-60 years. There is a higher risk of getting Frozen shoulder / Adhesive capsulitis if you have diabetes or if the thyroid gland produces too little hormone, hypothyroidism.


Symptoms of Frozen shoulder / Adhesive capsule:


It usually begins with a gradual increase in shoulder pain. Often pain on the front and or outside upper arm, shoulder. The pain is often sharp and comes in motion and strain on the arm. Also excruciating pain in the shoulder at night is also common. Within six months, stiffness in the shoulder also usually sets in. Stiffness with pain in the extremities. Difficulty twisting the arm and lifting it to the side is usually common. It can be difficult with everyday movements such as combing and washing your hair, pulling off your sweater and buttoning your bra. After a number of months, the pain and aches usually gradually subside. What remains is the stiffness which then lasts for another period. This is roughly how the mainstream of patients experience the period of discomfort. But pain intensity, stiffness and how long the problems last for vary. 

Treatment of Frozen shoulder / Adhesive capulite:


Early in this disease scenario, it can be difficult to make the correct diagnosis. It is easy to go wrong on other diagnoses with similar symptoms. But as resting pain and increasing stiffness enter the symptom picture, it becomes easier. In order to be able to make the diagnosis with greater certainty, we are happy to carry out an ultrasound examination as a complement to the manual examination. With  ultrasound diagnostics  we can not find any direct, safe signs of Frozen shoulder / Adhesive capsulitis, but if no other findings are made that can explain the problems, then the suspicion that it is a frozen shoulder is strengthened. In the painful and rigid phase, the treatment is about pain relief and trying to find movements that allow the patient to move the arm as much as possible without the pain increasing. If there is rest pain, we usually offer one  ultrasound-guided cortisone injection  which is inserted into the shoulder joint. This can provide good relief against the pain but does not affect the stiffness. When the pain begins to subside, we can begin to work manually with the shoulder and gradually increase exercise to accelerate the restoration of function in the shoulder.


Two to 3 years is the time it usually takes for this diagnosis to heal. Most are completely restored. In some cases, you have to live with some pain and / or a little residual stiffness in the shoulder.


Physiotherapy at Alta Vita Physiotherapy

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