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With a frozen shoulder you can experience stiffness and pain for months and even years. For many of us pain relief and exercise is the treatment required, but for some, surgery is the only solution.

 

More Information

Symptoms of frozen shoulder include: -

  • Dull or aching pain in the shoulder
  • Generally, pain is in the shoulder area but may extend to the upper arm
  • This pain can be worse in the early stage of the condition and may get worse when moving your arm.

Your GP will first discuss your symptoms, review your medical history and then conduct an examination of the shoulder.

The examination is to determine your range of motion and when pain occurs. Your doctor will assist in moving your arm and then allow you to move independently to review the difference. In both types of movement, people with frozen shoulder will have reduced motion range.

Your doctor may request further imaging tests: -

  • X-rays - to help rule out conditions such as arthritis and see your bone structure
  • MRI and ultrasound - used to check soft tissue structure and rule out other forms of injury such as ligament tears

Frozen shoulder is the shrinking and tightening of tissue triggered by inflammation. While it is not always clear why people get frozen shoulder, it can happen because: -

  • Diabetes - regular check-ups can help spot early signs
  • Injury - during an activity you injured your upper arm preventing it from moving normally
  • Surgery - as with an injury, following surgery you have been unable to move your arm normally

Nonsurgical Treatment

  • Pain relief and physiotherapy to restore normal movement
  • Anti-inflammatory medicine such as ibuprofen to reduce swelling and pain
  • Cortisone injected directly into your shoulder joint - powerful anti-inflammatory drug
  • Hydrodilatation - gently injecting a large volume of sterile fluid into the shoulder joint by a radiologist using imaging to guide the placement of fluid. This treatment expands and stretches the shoulder joint capsule.

Surgical Treatment

  • Shoulder manipulation under anaesthesia
  • Shoulder arthroscopy

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