August 23rd 2015
SPORTS MASSAGE THERAPY EXETER
If you are experiencing shoulder pain it could be caused frozen shoulder. Find out how to recognise frozen shoulder symptoms and what the treatment options are with our useful guide.
If you're over 50, it's quite likely you know of someone who's had frozen shoulder – and that’s because, according to a survey,* 72% of patients are over the age of 50.
Frozen shoulder syndrome, or adhesive capsulitis as it’s medically termed, occurs when ligaments around the shoulder joint swell and stiffen to such an extent that normal healing doesn't take place. This makes it difficult to move the shoulder, making everyday activities such as getting dressed or reaching for a cup from a shelf painful. As the condition progresses, the stiffness may continue to the point where range of motion can be severely limited.
Research has shown that diabetes patients are more than twice as likely to suffer with condition, and other risk factors include recent surgery, having a stroke, overactive or underactive thyroid and heart disease.
If you suspect that you have frozen shoulder, see your GP for a diagnosis. Your doctor should also rule out shoulder arthritis via a scan or X-ray, as it produces similar symptoms. With frozen shoulder the surfaces of your shoulder joint are normal and motion is limited because the tissues surrounding the joint have become tight, preventing you from moving your arm and shoulder as you usually would. With shoulder arthritis the joint surface is damaged.
Possible causes of frozen shoulder
Because frozen shoulder is a catch-all term, one person's symptoms and causes might be slightly different from another's, making it difficult to say what has caused the problem.
Frozen shoulder does, however, seem linked to certain activities. For example, any activity that involves you having to rotate your arm, such as freestyle swimming or throwing a ball overarm (for cricket, for example). Also, overhead weight lifting and sudden stress to the shoulder muscles via injury.
It's thought that frozen shoulder is caused by inflammation in the joint - this inflammation could arise after an injury but also as a side effect of other illnesses, such as diabetes, a known risk factor for frozen shoulder.
Early symptoms of frozen shoulder
- A feeling of pain and tightness in the shoulder area.
- A feeling of tightness especially when putting the arm up and back, as you would do it you were throwing a ball overarm.
- Pain on the back of the wrist. (This specifically relates to frozen shoulder caused by subscapularis trigger points.)
- As time goes on, the symptoms will worsen although the pain may be reduced.