Frozen shoulder, also known as adhesive capsulitis, is a common condition characterized by pain and stiffness in the shoulder joint. With this condition, shoulder movement may be very limited. In many cases, these restrictions can cause considerable disability. Fortunately, there are treatment options available to help manage the pain and stiffness caused by frozen shoulder and restore shoulder range of motion and function. This article provides an in-depth guide on the treatment options for frozen shoulder, including medications, physical therapy, corticosteroid injections, and surgery.

Medications

Over-the-Counter Pain Medications

Over-the-counter pain medications are a common method for managing the acute pain caused by frozen shoulder. These include medications like ibuprofen, acetaminophen and naproxen, which are taken orally for relief. In many cases, these medications are enough to manage the symptoms of frozen shoulder. However, if the pain is too severe, your doctor may prescribe a stronger pain medication.

Prescription Pain Medications

Prescription pain medications are usually considered if over-the-counter medications are not effective in managing the pain. These medications typically include medications like hydrocodone, oxycodone, or codeine. These medications can provide more effective and longer-lasting pain relief than over-the-counter medications, but they can also have more potential side effects. Your doctor will be able to give you more information about the potential risks and benefits of these medications.

Topical Pain Relief

Topical pain relief medications can also be used for the treatment of frozen shoulder pain. These medications are rubbed onto the skin over the affected area and can provide some relief from the discomfort associated with frozen shoulder. Topical medications typically contain lidocaine, an anesthetic that can provide fast and temporary pain relief.

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Physical Therapy

Physical therapy is an important part of the treatment process for frozen shoulder. Physical therapists can help to reduce pain, improve range of motion, and strengthen the shoulder muscles. A physical therapist can create an individualized treatment plan based on your specific condition. Common exercises used to treat frozen shoulder include stretching, shoulder mobilization, shoulder blade stabilization, and strengthening exercises.

Stretching Exercises

Stretching exercises are an important part of treatment for frozen shoulder as they can help to relieve tension in the shoulder muscles and improve mobility. These exercises can include gentle shoulder rotations and stretching of the arms, chest and back muscles.

Shoulder Mobilization

Shoulder mobilization is a technique used to improve shoulder mobility and reduce scar tissue build-up. This technique is done through gentle, rhythmic movements that help to reduce stiffness in the shoulder and improve range of motion.

Shoulder Blade Stabilization

Shoulder blade stabilization is another technique used to improve shoulder mobility. This technique involves careful movements that help to stabilize the shoulder blade to reduce discomfort and improve mobility.

Strengthening Exercises

Strengthening exercises are also important for the treatment of frozen shoulder. These exercises can include exercises like overhead presses and shoulder extension, which can help to improve the strength and stability of the shoulder joint and muscles.

Corticosteroid Injections

Corticosteroid injections are another option for treating frozen shoulder. These injections are administered directly into the shoulder joint and can provide fast and long-lasting relief from the pain and stiffness associated with frozen shoulder. Corticosteroids are anti-inflammatory medications that can help reduce inflammation and improve range of motion.

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Surgery

Surgery is usually only recommended if conservative treatment methods are ineffective in treating frozen shoulder. Surgery typically involves removing scar tissue or loosening the shoulder capsule to restore normal movement. Surgery is usually successful in restoring full range of motion and function to the shoulder joint.

People Also Ask

What causes a frozen shoulder?

Frozen shoulder is caused by a combination of factors including injury, overuse, and immune system issues. It can also be caused by age-related changes in the shoulder joint.

Is a frozen shoulder serious?

Yes, a frozen shoulder can be a serious condition that can cause severe pain and stiffness in the shoulder joint. People with this condition may not be able to move the shoulder properly and can experience a lot of pain.

How long does frozen shoulder last?

Frozen shoulder can last anywhere from six months to three years. Treatment can help to reduce symptoms and shorten the duration of the condition.

How painful is a frozen shoulder?

Frozen shoulder can be very painful. Pain is usually worse during movement, but can be present at rest as well. The pain can range from mild to severe and can restrict movement.

Can physical therapy help with a frozen shoulder?

Yes, physical therapy can be helpful in the treatment of frozen shoulder. Physical therapy exercises can help to reduce pain, improve range of motion, and strengthen the shoulder muscles.

Final Words

Frozen shoulder is a common condition that can cause severe pain and limited movement in the shoulder. Fortunately, there are treatments available to reduce pain and restore shoulder range of motion and function. Medications, physical therapy, corticosteroid injections, and surgery are all effective treatment options for frozen shoulder. With the right treatment plan, it is possible to manage the symptoms of frozen shoulder and improve shoulder function.