Frozen shoulder syndrome is a rare condition involving the thickening and contracting of the muscles surrounding the shoulder joint. It's characterized by the inability to move the shoulder and may cause shoulder pain.
Frozen shoulder often occurs in three stages:
According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgery, frozen shoulder occurs in 2 percent of the general population.
Age and gender are both risk factors for frozen shoulder. Those between the ages of 40 and 60 are more likely to get frozen shoulder. It's also more common in women.
Others at risk for frozen shoulder include those with pre-existing conditions like:
If left untreated, frozen shoulder may cause:
Complete immobilization is also a common complication of frozen shoulder.
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Since frozen shoulder presents in three stages, symptoms often increase and change over time.
The most common symptoms of frozen shoulder include:
Based on the results of a physical exam and your medical history, your doctor may order further tests to diagnose frozen shoulder,such as:
Since frozen shoulder generally improves on its own over time, treatment goals focus on:
At UPMC Orthopaedic Care, we offer both nonsurgical treatment and surgery options for frozen shoulder.
According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgery, more than 90 percent of those with frozen shoulder can improve with nonsurgical treatment methods.
The two most common nonsurgical treatments for frozen shoulder are:
Usually, the pain subsides over time and motion also improves. However, some people never regain complete motion and stiffness remains after years.
In some cases, your doctor may choose surgical treatment when pain and shoulder motions have not improved after:
Surgical interventions use physical manipulation under anesthesia and shoulder arthroscopy procedures to:
Frozen shoulder has been known to get better on its own.
The recovery process is lengthy and can take up to two or three years. Treatments can help manage pain and speed recovery.
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