Identifying A Frozen Shoulder

Identifying A Frozen Shoulder

The condition that is described as ‘frozen shoulder’ is an inconvenient and rather painful condition that is not life threatening and can be easily treated. If you suspect that you have a ‘frozen shoulder’ it is imperative that you seek medical treatment, because if you do not and you carry on trying to carry out normal day to day activities, then you could actually make the situation worse. What started out as a simple frozen shoulder, could then become more painful and more resistant to treatment, simply because it will become much stiffer and so moving the shoulder becomes really difficult. It is also important to have any condition checked out in case there is any other cause for the pain.

Usually an X-Ray will be carried out, simply to ensure that it is indeed a frozen shoulder and there is nothing else wrong with your shoulder.

However, if you have a painful shoulder and you are awaiting an appointment with a GP or pain consultant, then there are some common symptoms that generally point to a frozen shoulder. In fact, a frozen shoulder usually comes about in 3 stages:

Stage 1: Pain

Gradually the shoulder becomes sore. It can start off as being a sudden ‘twinge’ then the pain can linger and you get an ache in the shoulder. This pain can often be difficult when you are in bed and especially if you are lying on the side that is affected.

Stage 2: Stiffness

Stage 2 is often described as the shoulder ‘seizing up’. Stiffness within the shoulder can become a real problem. It can be difficult to use the shoulder and even very simple day to day activities such as dressing, carrying bags or even working, can all become quite hard because it is difficult to lift the shoulder and so even putting on a shirt becomes quite a feat!

Usually there is still a lot of pain when trying to move the shoulder and this restricts movement as people try to minimise pain levels.

Stage 3: Unseizing of the shoulder!

Stage 3 is really when healing begins, as the shoulder becomes more supple and is able to move easier. Pain levels will not usually dramatically subside as the range of movement in the shoulder increases, however, as the shoulder becomes easier to move, pain levels usually start to subside. At this stage patients usually feel much better because not only are they able to move their shoulder, but it is much less painful.

Exercise And Frozen Shoulder

One thing you should bear in mind is that whilst exercise is good for a frozen shoulder, you should only carry out exercises that have been recommended by your physiotherapist or other healthcare professional, who has shown you specifically how the exercise has been done. This is simply to ensure that the exercises do not exacerbate the problem, so avoid rigorous exercises and ensure that you do seek appropriate medical assistance if you think that you may indeed have a frozen shoulder.