Frozen shoulder is a complex disease that can affect an individual for 1-2 years. If you have frozen shoulder, it will go through phases of pain, at first causing you extreme pain that may make you believe you’ve torn your rotator cuff. After a few months, your pain will plateau and a stiffness will settle into your joint. For a long period of time, sometimes up to a whole year, your shoulder will have very limited range of motion and may feel consistently uncomfortable. Thankfully, eventually your shoulder will thaw out, allowing you to move normally again.
Because the initial pain can be confused for another shoulder condition, it is important to see an expert like Dr. Leon E. Popovitz, MD to get a proper diagnosis. Interestingly, often times we cannot know why frozen shoulder starts. It is usually an idiopathic condition, however it does affect women ages 45-65 most and may have some connection to diabetes. In addition, frozen shoulder cannot be completely corrected with any one treatment. While there are treatment options that can help alleviate symptoms, the disease must run its course and heal on its own.
Despite the fact that it will be hard to move your shoulder, you should keep using the affected arm. Physical therapy is helpful for many reasons. It will stretch your shoulder to prevent further stiffness, strengthen rotator cuff muscles to prevent atrophy from disuse, decrease inflammation around the joint to alleviate pain, and provide guidance for moving your shoulder more easily throughout daily life. Cortisone injections are also helpful in reducing inflammation which relieves pain for long periods of time and can help you get the most out of stretches and exercises.
Dr. Leon Popovitz and Dr. Michael Mizhiritsky, along with their team of best-in-class orthopedic physicians, are known for their exemplary orthopedic surgical skill and best-rated physical medicine and rehabilitation program. This, along with their top in-office physical therapy and long-term sports rehabilitation processes, leads to athletes of all levels returning to their top physical potential. Contact us today to schedule a consult!