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Frozen shoulder is a medical condition that is also referred to as shoulder contracture or adhesive capsulitis. Sufferers of this ailment will experience pain and stiffness of the shoulder, and the symptoms may worsen over a period of a few months or years. Typically, pain is experienced for the first few months and is then followed by increasing stiffness that can affect your ability to function normally and complete every day activities. In the most severe cases, a sufferer is unable to move their shoulder at all.
The shoulder pain caused by frozen shoulder is often not severe enough to cause a patient to visit a doctor or seek help. They may simply just live with the slight irritation until it eventually goes away. For those that are suffering from a more severe shoulder pain, appropriate treatment methods may be sought and a shoulder support, brace or pain killers may be recommended. A shoulder support is one of the more common types of treatment as painkillers will only temporarily alleviate the pain, whereas a support will ensure that the pressure and wear and tear on the area is minimised. Physiotherapy and gentle exercise may be recommended in an effort to strengthen the shoulder and thus alleviate the pain, however if this and other types of treatment are inefficient after six months or more, surgery may be recommended, depending on how far the symptoms have progressed.
Frozen shoulder is caused by the thickening and inflammation of the flexible tissue that encapsulates the joint of the shoulder. The cause of the ailment is not known but the factors that can contribute to developing the ailment include having had shoulder surgery previously or suffered from a shoulder injury, health conditions such as a stroke or heart disease, diabetes or a condition called Dupuytrens contracture, where small lumps created by thickened tissue appear in the fingers and hands.
It's estimated that in the UK alone up to one in 20 people will suffer from shoulder pain caused by frozen shoulder. Generally sufferers of the condition are between the ages of 40 and 60 and many of them go undiagnosed as the shoulder pain they experience is not serious enough to warrant a visit to the doctor or they simply use a shoulder support to alleviate the pain and the condition disappears. This type of shoulder pain is more commonly found in woman that men and if the pain persists a visit to the GP is recommended. If frozen shoulder is identified and diagnosed early, shoulder pain can be kept to a minimum and a treatment plan implemented to prevent long term stiffness and discomfort.