Frozen shoulder is characterized by pain and stiffness felt in your shoulder caused by the connective tissue surrounding your shoulder joint becoming tight and thick.
There is no one specific cause for the condition, but there are several risk factors associated with it, such as recovering from a surgery that doesn’t allow you to move your shoulder much. You are more likely to develop frozen shoulder if you are over the age of 40. Those with diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and Parkinson’s disease seem to be at an increased risk as well.
What are the symptoms of frozen shoulder?
Before one of our medical professionals starts you with the process of frozen shoulder treatment, you will have a consultation where you explain all of the symptoms that you are experiencing. There are three common stages of frozen shoulder, which typically develops slowly:
- Stage 1 - This is the painful stage. During this time, you will experience pain whenever you move your shoulder. You will also find that your shoulder's range of motion is limited. This stage can last several months. Many patients find that the pain gets worse at night and makes it difficult to sleep.
- Stage 2 - This stage, which can also last several months, is called the frozen stage. You might experience less pain during this stage, but your range of motion will be steadily decreasing.
- Stage 3 - The final stage is the thawing stage, when your range of motion starts to improve.
When should I see a doctor for my frozen shoulder?
In general, you should see your doctor for frozen shoulder treatment if you are experiencing any of the symptoms of the condition, especially in stages 1 or 2. Once your doctor is able to diagnose your condition, you can get pain relief quickly.
To diagnose your condition, your doctor will talk with you about your medical history and about your pain, including its severity, when you first noticed it, and more. Then, your doctor will perform a physical exam of your shoulder by moving it to check your range of motion. You should tell your doctor if you experience any pain during this part of the exam.
Imaging tests like MRI, ultrasound, and x-rays are typically not necessary in order to diagnose a frozen shoulder. However, your doctor might still use these tests to look for other problems that could be causing your pain, like arthritis.