Adhesive capsulitis is better known as frozen shoulder. It is a condition whereby the shoulder joint of the person suffering, has stiffness and pain.
The shoulder joint is a ball and socket joint which consists of the bones, the ligaments and tendons holding the joint together, encapsulated in connective tissue.
When this capsule of connective tissue stiffens, it tightens around the bones, tendons and ligaments, thus restricting their movement.
Doctors have not been able to pinpoint the exact cause of this condition. However, some factors increase the chances of occurrence of this condition:
Women above the age of 40 are more likely to have this condition.
Persons with reduced mobility of the joint due to factors such as broken arm, recovery from a surgery, stroke, rotator cuff injury are more prone.
Diseases such as diabetes, tuberculosis, cardiovascular conditions, Parkinson's disease, hyper or hypothyroidism too are prone to suffer from frozen shoulder.
There are preventive measures to avoid a frozen shoulder, which your physiotherapist or consulting doctor may help you with exercises. However, some cases may require surgery.
It is generally diagnosed with indicative signs and symptoms and medical history.
During the physical examination, the doctor evaluates the active range of motion and the passive range of motion along with the pain.
Some cases the doctor may have to administer anaesthesia to determine the range of motion. The doctor may also suggest an X-ray or MRI scan of the shoulder to eliminate other reasons for the discomfort.
Surgery is resorted to, only when medications and therapy do not produce relief from stiffness and pain over a prolonged period of time. This implies that the condition prevails for more than 12-18 months: the observed time span over which frozen should generally resolve on its own.
Steroid injections may be given at the early stages to reduce the pain, which helps improve mobility.
Joint distension as a protocol may be applied. Here, sterile water is infused into the capsule. The water helps the tissue to stretch and increases the mobility of the joint.
Shoulder manipulation is a technique, which is performed under general anaesthesia. The doctor loosens the tightened joint by moving the shoulder joint in diverse directions.
Surgical intervention is rarely needed. However, if none of the conservative techniques has helped the doctor may recommend surgery to remove the adhesions or scarred tissue, which is causing immobility and pain.
The surgery performed is arthroscopic. That means, with small incisions around the joint and small instruments and camera inserted through these to remove the injured tissue.
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