Frozen shoulder is a debilitating conditions that affects millions of people around the world. There are three stages of frozen shoulder (adhesive capsulitis) and each stage need to be treated differently.
First Stage – The ‘freezing’ stage.
This is a stage where pain is the main problem. The goal of this stage is to reduce inflammation and pain. NSAIDs (Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs) and the usage of heat packs are a great method in controlling pain. Simple range of movement should be performed to prevent stiffening of the shoulder.
Second Stage – The ‘frozen’ stage
The patients pain slowly improves but the shoulder would gradually become more stiff. This stage usually lasts between four and nine months. It is important you perform range of movement and strengthening exercises at this stage.
Third Stage – The ‘thawing’ stage
This is the final and longest stage. Pain is not a problem anymore and stiffness is slowly returning to normal. The duration of this stage is about five to twenty-six months. Your health practitioner should introduce a full rehabilitation program for you to perform. This includes a weight strengthening program, ball exercises to improve co-ordination and cardiovascular exercises.
If there is no improvement in range of motion with exercises, surgery intervention is required. Manipulation under anesthesia is a common surgical technique where the patient is put to sleep and the surgeon stretching/forcing the joint into range.
Shoulder arthroscopy is another option, the surgeon will make small incision into your shoulder joint and a small camera and instrument is inserted. The instrument is used to remove debris and remove tight ligaments.