Frozen shoulder Perth
Everything you need to know about frozen shoulder
Table of Contents
Frozen shoulder symptoms
What is a frozen shoulder?
Do you have a stiff shoulder, and has it become increasingly more painful and stiffer, making it difficult to move your arm? You may have a condition called frozen shoulder or adhesive capsulitis.
Dr Sven Goebel | Shoulder Surgeon Perth
The symptoms associated with frozen shoulder include:
- Dull or aching pain with shoulder or arm motion
- Shoulder stiffness and tightness, progressively worsening
- Pain located over the outer shoulder area and sometimes the upper arm
- Limited range of motion
- Limited shoulder function and strength secondary to pain
- Shooting pain down the arm when stretching out to reach objects
- “Nerve pain” down the arm
Frozen shoulder progresses through three phases
The shoulder joint is enclosed in a capsule of connective tissue that is normally very thin and elastic. Frozen shoulder happens when the connective tissue tightens, and becomes thick and inflamed.
- Stage 1 or freezing stage: The first phase is characterised by increasing pain and later stiffness and usually lasts for 2 to 3 months.
- Stage 2 or frozen stage: In the second phase the pain is at its peak, and stiffness is at its worst. This stage typically lasts 4 to 6 months
Stage 3 or thawing phase:
- The final phase is the gradual resolution of pain and then stiffness. This stage may take 6 months to 12 months.
Frozen shoulder generally resolves on its own but it may take up to 2 years. Non-surgical and surgical treatments options are available.
Frozen shoulder specialist Perth
How is it diagnosed?
As your shoulder specialist I ask you about the history of your condition. I will direct you to perform various movements with your arm and I will check if there are any limitations – this is what we call checking the active range of motion. I will then examine your shoulder and move it carefully in different directions to check your passive range of motion.
Dr Sven Goebel, Frozen Shoulder Specialist Perth
Other tests may include:
- X-rays: They show a clear image of bony structures and may show other causes of a limited range of motion, such as shoulder arthritis.
- MRI and ultrasound tests: They can show soft tissues like muscles, tendons, cartilage and ligaments which may help identify other shoulder issues such as a torn rotator cuff.
Absolutely. In some cases, a frozen shoulder may be diagnosed as impingement or a rotator cuff tear initially. If you are unsure about a previous diagnosis, it’s recommended to seek a second opinion.
Frozen shoulder surgeon Perth
Surgery for frozen shoulder?
First-line treatment involves oral medication to treat the pain and gentle physiotherapy or hydrotherapy to maintain shoulder motion. To treat acute pain, intra-articular (into the joint) injections of local anaesthetic and corticosteroids can be helpful.
Surgery for frozen shoulder is rare, but if your symptoms persist despite time and adequate non-surgical treatment, this may be your best option. The aim of surgery is to release the tight, scarred capsule of connective tissue. This is performed after manipulating your arm to regain motion and then using an arthroscopic (key-hole) procedure to free up tight structures inside the joint.
After your surgery, it is important to follow up with a diligent physiotherapy program in order to maintain the joint mobility gained during the procedure. Most patients have very good outcomes with this type of surgery.