Unlike with an acute shoulder injury, pain and stiffness due to frozen shoulder develop slowly. Fortunately, treatments are available to help relieve your discomfort and restore a better range of motion.
Dr. Jeremy Woodson and our highly skilled team at our private practice in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, can help with all your orthopedic and sports medicine needs. We use advanced treatments and prevention strategies that have proven track records to help people of all ages and all activity levels. Whether you have an injury like a frozen shoulder, a chronic condition, such as arthritis, or are simply seeking better health and efficiency in your active endeavors, we can help.
Frozen shoulder occurs when the connective tissue surrounding the joint thickens. That causes it to become tight and stiff, resulting in pain and a loss of mobility. Adhesions may occur as well as a decrease in the amount of fluid that helps lubricate the joint.
Pain, stiffness, and the inability to move the shoulder are the main symptoms. Discomfort is often worse at night, and sleeping may be difficult. Typically, frozen shoulder goes through three stages:
The main features of this stage are pain whenever the shoulder moves and a limitation in the range of motion. Over time the discomfort increases. This phase can last from six to nine months.
This stage typically involves a decrease in pain but an increase in stiffness to the point where movement and daily activities become challenging. It can last anywhere from 4-12 months.
After six months to two years, the shoulder begins to thaw, and the range of motion improves.
Frozen shoulder is diagnosed with a thorough physical exam. It consists of multiple parts, including testing how far you can move your shoulder. Often no diagnostic tests are needed; but sometimes, an imaging test like an X-ray, ultrasound, or MRI may be performed to rule out other issues.
There are several treatment options for frozen shoulder, including:
NSAIDs can reduce pain and inflammation in the shoulder. If they are not effective, stronger prescription medication may help.
Stretching and strengthening the muscles is essential to increase the range of motion.
A corticosteroid injection can help improve the range of motion and decrease the pain. Another option may be joint distension, where sterile water is injected into the shoulder capsule to stretch it. In rare cases where other interventions have not helped, arthroscopic surgery may be recommended.
If you're experiencing pain or stiffness in your shoulder, getting a proper diagnosis and treatment plan is essential. Call our office today at 405-233-3602 for an appointment.