Pain in the shoulder joint, stiffness and loss of range of motion is a medical condition known as frozen shoulder. It usually begins with a dull ache in one shoulder that leads to joint stiffness that makes any kind of movement very difficult. It becomes particularly difficult to lift one's hand.
Women have a higher chance of developing a frozen shoulder and it is particularly common after menopause. It usually occurs between 40 and 60 years of age. Moreover about 10% to 20% of people with diabetes are prone to frozen shoulders. Other medical conditions like heart disease, thyroid and parkinson can also lead to frozen shoulders.
Immobility or reduced joint motion owing to any injury, fracture or stroke can also cause this debilitating condition. Frequent, gentle exercise can prevent and reduce joint stiffness. Anyone experiencing such stiffness should seek medical attention and consult a physiotherapist in order to prevent permanent stiffness of the joint.
There are 3 stages of this condition;
Stage 1: The initial freezing stage where pain increases gradually. Movements become very challenging at this stage. The pain also tends to get worse at night. This stage can last from six weeks to nine months.
Stage 2: Pain at this stage does not worsen. On the contrary it may gradually decrease but the joint continues to be stiff. This stage can last from four to six months.
Medical conditions like heart disease, thyroid and parkinson can also lead to frozen shouldersStage 3: This stage is called thawing and at this stage movements of the shoulder joint may get easier. The pain may fade but occasionally recur. This stage takes six months to two years.
For the management of frozen shoulders a few stretching exercises can be done at home such as the crossover arm stretch. One should hold the upper arm of the affected side and gently bring the arm (in front) under the chin and hold for 30 seconds. This should be repeated after intervals of relaxation.
The towel stretch is another remedy. One should hold both ends of the towel behind one's back. Then with the help of the good arm, the person should pull the affected arm up towards the shoulder.
The pendulum stretch is yet another exercise that can relieve symptoms and pain. This stretch requires relaxation of the shoulder area. The person should then stand and lean over slightly, allowing the affected arm to hang down. The arm needs to be swung in a small circle (about a foot in diameter). Perform ten such swings in each direction, once a day. As your symptoms improve, increase the diameter of your swing but be careful not to force it. When you are ready for more, increase the stretch by holding a light weight (three to five pounds) in the swinging arm.
Exercise can reduce the symptoms of a frozen shoulder but if left untreated it will persist forever. Deep ultrasonic therapy and moist heat are also recommended for this condition. Moreover, progressive and gentle motion exercises, more effective use of the shoulder and stretching may prevent the formation of a frozen shoulder after a surgery or an injury.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely the author's and Fit NorthEast does not take any liability. Though the facts and information stated here are genuine and authentic we recommend that you consult your doctor/physiotherapist before trying the procedure as individual patient cases and sensitivities are different.