Frozen shoulder is a common and painful condition that affects many people, especially those who are in their 40s and 50s. The condition can be caused by a variety of factors, including injury, surgery, and disease, and can significantly impact an individual’s quality of life. Pain management doctors play a crucial role in the management of frozen shoulder, and this article will discuss what frozen shoulder is and how pain management doctors can help.
What is Frozen Shoulder?
Frozen shoulder, also known as adhesive capsulitis, is a condition that affects the shoulder joint. The condition is characterized by pain and stiffness in the shoulder joint, which can make it difficult to move the arm. The condition occurs when the capsule of connective tissue that surrounds the shoulder joint becomes thick and tight, making it difficult for the joint to move. This can lead to pain, stiffness, and a reduced range of motion.
Frozen shoulder typically develops in three stages, each of which can last for several months. The first stage is the “freezing” stage, during which the shoulder becomes increasingly painful and stiff. The second stage is the “frozen” stage, during which the pain may subside, but the stiffness remains. The third and final stage is the “thawing” stage, during which the stiffness gradually improves, and the range of motion gradually returns.
Causes of Frozen Shoulder
The exact cause of frozen shoulder is unknown, but there are several factors that can increase the risk of developing the condition. These include
1. Age: Frozen shoulder is more common in people over the age of 40.
2. Gender: Women are more likely to develop frozen shoulder than men.
3. Inactivity: Inactivity or immobilization of the shoulder joint, such as after surgery or injury, can increase the risk of developing frozen shoulder.
4. Other medical conditions: People with diabetes, thyroid problems, heart disease, and Parkinson’s disease are at an increased risk of developing frozen shoulder.
Role of Pain Management Doctors in Managing Frozen Shoulder
Pain management doctors play an important role in the management of frozen shoulder. The goal of pain management is to reduce pain, increase function, and improve quality of life. Pain management doctors use a variety of techniques to manage the pain and stiffness associated with frozen shoulder. These include:
1. Medications: Pain management doctors may prescribe medications to reduce pain and inflammation. These may include nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen or naproxen, or corticosteroids, such as prednisone, which can be injected into the shoulder joint.
2. Physical Therapy: Pain management doctors may also refer patients to physical therapy. Physical therapy can help reduce pain and stiffness, and improve range of motion through exercises and stretches.
3. Trigger Point Injections: Trigger point injections involve injecting a small amount of local anesthetic and a steroid into a trigger point, which is a tight, painful area in the muscle. This can help to reduce pain and improve range of motion.
4. Joint Injections: Pain management doctors may also inject the shoulder joint with a corticosteroid to reduce inflammation and pain.
5. Acupuncture: Acupuncture is an alternative therapy that involves the insertion of thin needles into the skin at specific points on the body. It can help to reduce pain and improve range of motion in frozen shoulder.
6. Electrical Stimulation: Electrical stimulation involves applying a low-level electrical current to the skin over the affected area. This can help to reduce pain and improve range of motion.
Frozen shoulder is a painful and debilitating condition that can significantly impact an individual’s quality of life. The condition can be caused by a variety of factors, including injury, surgery, and