How to Achieve Frozen Shoulder Relief

If you've been recuperating from an arm injury or surgery, you've been looking forward to the day when you can finally take your arm out that sling. But when the magical day arrives, you're shocked to find that you can't move your shoulder without experiencing agonizing pain. What happened to this joint while the other parts of arm were healing? Chances are that you're suffering from a condition called adhesive capsulitis -- better known as frozen shoulder. Let's take a look at this frustrating problem, from the signs and stages to strategies for providing frozen shoulder relief at our Torrance clinic.

What Is Frozen Shoulder -- and How Do You Recognize It?

frozen Shoulder Pain

Frozen shoulder is a fairly common condition in which the capsule (the set of tissues surrounding the shoulder joint) become inflamed, develop scar tissue, thicken, and shrink in size. This combination of changes can make shoulder motion extremely painful and limited. It may accompany an acute shoulder injury such as torn rotator cuff, or it can be a complication of some chronic inflammatory condition such as bursitis, osteoarthritis, or tendinitis. It can even occur in the absence of known shoulder problems, especially if your arm has been immobilized for a long time in the wake of an injury or surgical procedure.

Frozen shoulder can strike practically anyone, but it is more common in women, diabetics, and people between the ages of 40 and 60. The pain and stiffness occur both actively (when you try to move the shoulder yourself) and passively (when your doctor moves it to check your range of motion).

Three Stages of Frozen Shoulder

stages of a frozen shoulder

The term "frozen shoulder" presents a good description of the effects of this annoying musculoskeletal issue. There are actually three stages of progression in a case of frozen shoulder:

  • The freezing stage (6 weeks - 9 months): This first stage of frozen shoulder is often the most painful one, although you might even be aware of it at first if your arm is constantly immobile. The pain grows steadily worse as the shoulder tissue grows thicker and stiffer.
  • The frozen stage (4 -6 months): Your shoulder may be too stiff to perform even basic daily tasks during this second stage of frozen shoulder, although your pain may recede in intensity somewhat.
  • The thawing stage (6 months - 2 years): In this lengthy final stage of frozen shoulder, the joint gradually regains its mobility and comfort.

Exercises for Your Frozen Shoulder Treatment in Torrance

woman stretching her shoulder with an exercise ball

Our doctors at Rolling Hills Medical routinely prescribe exercise as an integral element of frozen shoulder treatment in Torrance. After evaluating your shoulder structure and symptoms carefully, we may recommend stretching and strengthening exercises such as:

  • Pendulum stretches, in which you let the arm hang straight down while moving it in small circles.
  • Towel stretches, which involve using a towel to pull against the arm that has the afflicted shoulder.
  • Finger walks, in which you use your fingers on the "bad side" to walk your hand up the wall.
  • Cross-body stretches that stretch the stiffened shoulder tissues gently and safely.
  • Armpit stretches, which consists of deep knee bends while resting your arms on a tabletop.
  • Inward or outward rotations with the aid of an exercise band.

Need a Torrance Doctor for Frozen Shoulder Relief? Call Rolling Hills Medical

As critical as exercise is for frozen shoulder, it isn't the only treatment method we offer. Our team can combine an exercise regimen with other treatment methods such as anti-inflammatory medications, corticosteroid injections, and physiotherapy. If you need a Torrance doctor for frozen shoulder relief, contact us today ar  (424) 360-0155 for an appointment. 

Epidural steroid injections aren't for everyone. You must be able to lie flat on your stomach for the procedure. Pregnancy, diabetes, heart failure, and NSAID use are all potential contraindications. You might experience bleeding, headaches, infection, and a temporary increase in your pain as side effects.

neil

Dr. Neil Ghodadra, MD

Dr. Ghodadra is well known for his surgical skill and his devotion to teaching and innovation in orthopedic surgery. He has authored over 65 textbook chapters and journal articles. Dr. Ghodadra was instrumental in developing a landmark technique for patients with recurrent shoulder instability.

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