Frozen Shoulder treated with suprascapular nerve blocks

A 65 year old lady was reviewed in the Pain Clinic. She had undergone left shoulder hemiarthroplasty 2 years previously following a fall in a restaurant. This operation then needed to be revised. She was seen in a local shoulder rehabilitation clinic but was not doing very well.

On presentation to the clinic, on examination of the left shoulder, there was a dramatic reduction in the range of movement and a reduction of power in the left shoulder. The patient was extremely labile and tearful. She was taking Co-dydramol, Metformin, Gliclazide, Thyroxine and anti-hypertensive’s. Unfortunately, the Co-dydramol was not helping her pain.

We decided to go for a course of 6 suprascapular nerve blocks. These were spread over an 8 week period. The suprascapular nerve block involves a small injection of local anaesthetic above the spine of the scapula and an infiltration of long acting local anaesthetic around the suprascapular nerve. Following this course of 6 blocks, after some initial discomfort following each procedure, overall there was a dramatic improvement in the lady’s frozen shoulder including being able to finally lie on the affected side in bed and put on and take off her clothing with ease.

She was seen after the blocks and, having made such excellent progress, was discharged from the clinic.

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