Frozen Shoulder—Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatment

Frozen Shoulder—Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatment

23 Apr 2020 Uncategorized ,

Treating the Loss of Motion in Your Shoulder Joint

Frozen Shoulder—Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, and TreatmentHave you lost motion or flexibility in one of your shoulders, unable to extend the joint very far vertically or laterally? Do you experience pain in your shoulder, even when you’re not using it? It’s possible that you have a condition known as “frozen shoulder,” or by the medical term “adhesive capsulitis.” It’s far more prevalent in individuals 40 years of age and older, and is more commonly diagnosed in women.

What Are the Risk Factors for Developing Frozen Shoulder?

Frozen shoulder is customarily tied to an inflammation of the ligaments in and around your shoulder. Your ligaments hold your bones together. If your shoulder capsule gets tight or thickens, you can develop stiff bands of tissue that reduce flexibility—those bands are known as adhesions. Frozen shoulder is more likely to occur in those who have suffered a shoulder injury or had a shoulder immobilized for some period of time. It’s also more common with people who suffer from Parkinson’s, heart disease, or hypothyroidism/hyperthyroidism.

To diagnose frozen shoulder, a doctor typically starts with a physical exam. Based on what the doctor observes, an X-ray and/or MRI may be required.

Treatment Options for Frozen Shoulder

There are both surgical (invasive) and non-surgical (non-invasive) approaches to address a frozen shoulder. Non-invasive options include the following:

  • Physical therapy to strengthen muscles and improve flexibility and range of motion;
  • Steroid injections to relieve pain;
  • Anti-inflammatory drugs, either over-the-counter or by prescription; and
  • Heat, ice, and gentle massage to ease pain and improve range of motion.

Surgical options may be done arthroscopically or through other surgical procedures. The objective of a surgical procedure is usually to remove scar tissue (which can inhibit motion) or dissect any ligaments that have become stiff or inflexible. Regardless of the type of surgical procedure, it’s customary to have some level of physical therapy post-surgery to help reestablish strength and flexibility.

Rotator-Cuff Injury—Arthroscopic Treatment

A Minimally-Invasive Approach to Shoulder Injury

Rotator-Cuff Injury—Arthroscopic TreatmentYour shoulder is one of the more complex joints in your body. The rotator cuff—a group of tendons in your shoulder joint—gives your shoulder much of its support and enhances its range of motion. Because the shoulder gets so much use in the ordinary course of life, it’s not uncommon to sustain a tear to one or more of the tendons that make up the rotator cuff. If you play tennis, baseball or volleyball, you are even more susceptible to rotator cuff injury.

The telltale signs of a rotator-cuff injury include:

  • Pain when using the arm or shoulder, or even when the shoulder is at rest
  • Weakness or instability when lifting or turning the arm or shoulder
  • A crackling or popping sensation when moving the shoulder

If you’ve experienced any of these sensations, your doctor will likely prescribe an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging). That’s the most reliable and effective way to diagnose a rotator-cuff injury.

Strategies for Treating a Rotator-Cuff Injury

The type of treatment you receive typically will depend on the severity of your injury. If you have merely strained or inflamed the tendons in the rotator cuff (known as rotator cuff tendonitis), your body may respond well to rest, ice, exercise, pain medications or steroid injections. If, however, the tendons are torn, you may require a surgical procedure to reattach the tendon to the shoulder bone. If possible, you’ll want to have the procedure done arthroscopically.

In an arthroscopic procedure, medical professionals (surgeons) make a small incision somewhere on your body and insert a fiber-optic camera (the arthroscope). The arthroscope sends a picture back to a monitor, so the surgeon can see where the damage is and how significant it is. The surgeon will then use specialized tools (which also are inserted into the body) to make any necessary repairs.

You can always opt for “open surgery,” where surgeons cut your shoulder open with a scalpel and use other tools to repair the rotator cuff tendons. However, the arthroscopic procedure involves small incisions, an accelerated healing process, less risk of infection, less pain, and less likelihood of scarring.

After Surgery

When Can I Expect to Get Back to My Former Life after Surgery?

When Can I Expect to Get Back to My Former Level of Activity after Surgery?

After SurgeryYou lead an active lifestyle that’s an integral part of your quality of life. Unfortunately, that often involves injury—it’s all just a part of the game. But when you’ve suffered the type of injury that requires surgery, one of your first concerns will typically be “when can I get back in the game?”

Not surprisingly, there’s no hard and fast answer to that question. Every surgical procedure is unique, so the criteria that help determine how long you’ll need to recover and what type of treatment or therapy will best work for you will vary as well. Here are some recommendations, though, to help you maximize your chances of full recovery while minimizing the length of time it takes to heal.

Let Your Surgeon Be Your Guide

There’s one person who understands your injury, the surgical process and your needs during convalescence better than anyone else—your surgeon. Resist the urge to look for remedies online or to get recommendations from a friend who just happens to be a physical therapist or rehab specialist. Unless they’ve seen your charts, they can’t have anywhere near the knowledge of your injury that your surgeon has. Your surgeon will know what your body can handle and the potential risks of different types of treatment. When you undergo other treatment options without consulting your surgeon, you risk complications that could set you back.

It’s a fundamental rule—the more invasive your surgery is, the longer it will typically take to heal and get back to normal activities. The recovery time from an arthroscopic procedure may be as short as a few weeks, whereas open surgery can take months of recovery time.

The Best Way to Heal Fast—Listen and Follow

One thing is pretty certain—you’ll have a better chance of a quicker recovery if you pay close attention to what your surgeon tells you and you follow his or her recommendations. Make certain you do the minimal amount prescribed, but be careful not to push it without consulting your surgeon. It may seem like more is better (and will help you heal sooner), but it may put unhealthy stress on your body, particularly the areas that were subject to surgery.

Contact 911 Injury Relief for Experienced Medical Professionals

Let 911 Injury Relief help you on your path to wellness. For more information about the range of services we offer, contact us today.

How to Prepare for Surgery

How to Prepare for Surgery

12 Feb 2019 Uncategorized

How to Prepare for SurgerySurgery can prove to be a major source of anxiety and discomfort for all patients. Regardless of whether or not you’ve experienced a surgical procedure before, it’s perfectly normal to feel nervous or a little out of your element. Afterall, you’re putting your health in another person’s hands!

Fortunately, there are ways to make sure you’re prepared both mentally and physically for any type of surgery. From concerns over pain management to worrying that your body won’t be strong enough for surgery, there are absolutely steps you can take to prepare for surgery.

Talk to Your Doctor

Your doctor is your number one resource for preparing you for any surgical procedure. Even if your doctor isn’t the one actually performing your surgery, he or she will be able to help you understand what to expect.

You should always come to every doctor’s appointment prepared with a list of questions, concerns, and changes in medical history. Your doctor should also be upfront with you about your medical condition and take the time to explain what you’re about to experience. Your doctor understands your unique situation and is best suited to supply you with the following information:

  • Credentials – your doctor can provide you with information and certifications for your surgeon and anesthesiologist
  • Procedures – hospitals have check-in procedures that you’ll want to know about before you head in on the day of surgery
  • Physical goals – being healthy enough for surgery is crucial to a positive outcome, and your doctor can help you get there
  • Day before preparations – you’ll have a list of dos and don’ts the day before surgery including required fasts and medication limitations
  • Resources – there are many online or physical resources to help you learn about your procedure
  • Operating room – the operating room can be a source of anxiety, but your doctor can let you know what it will look like and what will happen the day of the operation to reduce your pre-surgery anxiety
  • Recovery – every recovery process looks different, but your doctor can give you an idea of milestones that should be met and options for pain management
  • Medications – make sure you’re informed on all medications required pre- and post-op, including pain medication
  • Caregivers – your doctor can help you make arrangements for caregivers to help you after your surgery
  • Medical Billing – avoid surprise medical costs by asking your doctor for information on medical billing procedures and codes for your specific surgery

Your doctor can also connect you with additional resources to help prepare you for surgical procedures.

Seek Outside Help

Your doctor has most likely developed a broad network of healthcare professionals that you can reach out to while you prepare for surgery, including physical therapists, mental health services, and pain management clinics.

Physical therapy can help you make sure your body is healthy and prepared for surgery through customized exercises and lifestyle changes.

Mental health services can help you manage any feelings of anxiety or sadness associated with surgical procedures and health issues.

Pain management clinics can help you create customized care solutions to manage your pain naturally both before and after surgery. If you’re wary of medications containing opioids, pain management can provide you with the pain relief you need without intimidating side effects.

For more information on ways you can prepare for surgery including pain relief, call our offices today.

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