Frozen Shoulder Remedies

Frozen shoulder, or adhesive capsulitis, is a condition typically characterized by pain and range-of-motion loss to the shoulder joint. The shoulder’s joint capsule becomes inflamed and thickened, and a person often can’t lift her arm over her head, or internally rotate it. Daily activities such as dressing become very difficult. The American Academy of Family Physicians suggests that the main goal of remedies or treatment for frozen shoulder are pain management and maintaining shoulder mobility.

Medication

Medication can help alleviate some of the pain and inflammation that accompanies frozen shoulder. The American Academy of Family Physicians suggests using NSAIDS–nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs–or painkillers to manage symptoms. Muscle relaxants may be of use in the disease’s early stages. Corticosteroids injected directly into the joint capsule are often used for more significant symptom relief and to assist with more aggressive physical therapy.

Physical Therapy

Physical therapy is used to restore joint motion in frozen shoulder. Heat is often applied first to warm the shoulder, minimize pain and prepare the shoulder for range of motion. In cases of frozen shoulder, physical therapists utilize both passive exercises and pulley and wand-assisted range of motion exercises as well as joint mobilizations. Home exercise programs typically include pendulum exercises and wall climbs.

Surgery

The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons reports that less than 10 percent of frozen shoulder cases don’t improve with conservative treatment, but surgery might be warranted for those stubborn cases. The two most common procedures are arthroscopic surgery and shoulder manipulation under anesthesia. The purpose of both surgeries is to cut or stretch the adhesions in the joint capsule, thus helping to remove the restrictions causing the range-of motion-loss. Surgery is typically followed by physical therapy.

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