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Frozen Shoulder Specialist Questions and Answers

Stiffness and pain in your shoulder joint are signs of a frozen shoulder. The Orthopedic Group helps treat frozen shoulders. For more information, call us today or Schedule an appointment online if you are seeking Orthopedic Care. We serve patients from Leesburg VA, Lansdowne VA, Stonesprings VA, Ashburn VA, Sterling VA, Aldie VA, South Riding VA, Herndon VA, Winchester VA, Reston VA, and Chantilly VA.

Frozen Shoulder Specialist Questions and Answers
Frozen Shoulder Specialist Questions and Answers

What is the main cause of frozen shoulder?

The ligaments, bones, and tendons that make up your shoulder joint are encased in a capsule of connective tissue, and a frozen shoulder occurs when this capsule tightens and thickens around the shoulder joint, restricting its movement. Doctors are not fully sure why a frozen shoulder happens in some patients’ cases, but it is more likely to happen in patients who have diabetes or those who recently had to immobilize their shoulder for a long period of time, like after an arm fracture or surgery. Other risk factors include people over the age of 40, mainly women, people who have had reduced mobility or immobility (broken arm, stroke, rotator cuff injury, recovery from surgery). Then there are those who have certain diseases and who are more likely to develop frozen shoulders: underactive thyroid, overactive thyroid, tuberculosis, cardiovascular disease, and Parkinson’s disease.

What happens if the frozen shoulder is not treated?

A frozen shoulder typically causes pain and stiffness in the shoulder which makes it difficult to move it. If you have a frozen shoulder, then you will most likely feel an achy or dull pain in one shoulder, and you might also feel the pain in the shoulder muscles that wrap around the top of your arm. Additionally, you might also feel the very same sensation in your upper arm, and your pain may worsen at night, making it hard to sleep. A physical exam is normally enough to diagnose a frozen shoulder, however, a doctor may suggest imaging tests, like X-rays, MRI, or ultrasound, to rule out other problems, including arthritis, or a torn rotator cuff that may also cause pain and limit how far it moves. Getting a frozen shoulder examined and treated is important. Medical experts refer to a frozen shoulder as a “self limiting” condition, which means that it most likely will go away on its own. If a frozen shoulder is not treated, then people may not be able to regain their full range of motion, and they might even notice that their affected shoulder pops up slightly higher than the other shoulder when they raise their arms over their head. As well, when frozen shoulder is not treated, the associated pain and stiffness may not go away or may get worse, and you may also get tendonitis.

Can a frozen shoulder go away on its own?

According to medical experts, a frozen shoulder can go away on its own within a year or two, however, it is important to seek medical attention for a frozen shoulder. There are a number of treatment options available if your symptoms are intense and don’t improve over time. Physical therapy, a corticosteroid injection, joint distention, shoulder manipulation, are just a handful of treatment options, and in rare cases surgery might be suggested by your doctor.

How can an orthopedic surgeon help a frozen shoulder?

An orthopedic surgeon may conduct a physical exam, and offer conservative treatments, based on the level of pain and stiffness. These approaches generally include a physical therapy plan that is designed to restore shoulder motion and strengthen the surrounding muscles. Most patients may also need to follow a rehabilitation plan for four to five months to ensure a complete recovery. Your doctor may also recommend corticosteroid injections and anti-inflammatories to supplement physical therapy. In the event your mobility issues continue, then minimally invasive arthroscopic surgery may be needed in order to break up and remove the scar tissue that has built up in the shoulder, with a full recovery time in as little as six weeks.

If you think you have a frozen shoulder or have any questions about treatment, then we encourage you to contact us or book an appointment through our website. Our team of medical professionals at the Orthopedic Group treat frozen shoulders and offer ways to prevent it.