What is Frozen Shoulder ?
What is a “frozen shoulder” (FS)?
Frozen shoulder, or “adhesive capsulitis”, is a condition that causes severe painful restriction of motion in the shoulder joint. Frozen shoulder causes the capsule surrounding the shoulder joint to contract and form scar tissue which prevents the shoulder bone from being able to move in the socket. The shoulder literally becomes “frozen” which is why it has been given the name “frozen shoulder”.
What causes frozen shoulder?
Many frozen shoulder occurs with no memorable associated injury or discernible cause. There are patients who develop a frozen shoulder after a traumatic injury to the shoulder, but this is not always case. As pain and inflammation from a shoulder strain injury often only develops a few days after the insult, it may be that patients simply do not remember what they did to initially cause the development. Some risk factors for developing a frozen shoulder include:
Age & Gender:
Frozen shoulder most commonly affects patients between the ages of 40 to 60 years old, and it is twice more common in women than in men.
Patients with diabetes are at particular risk for developing a frozen shoulder. Other endocrine abnormalities, such as thyroid problems, can also lead to this condition.
Shoulder Trauma or Surgery:
Patients who sustain a shoulder injury, or undergo surgery on the shoulder can develop a frozen shoulder joint. When injury or surgery is followed by prolonged joint immobilization, the risk of developing a frozen shoulder is highest.
Other Systemic Conditions:
Several systemic conditions such as heart disease and Parkinson's disease have also been associated with an increased risk for developing a frozen shoulder.
Psychosomatic overlay: It is also hypothesized that some patients also develop frozen shoulder due to severe stress causing a psychosomatic reaction especially if they feel emotionally restricted and pressured
What happens with a frozen shoulder?
As already stated, for various possible reasons, the shoulder joint becomes stiff and scarred. The shoulder joint is a ball and socket joint. The ball is the top of the arm bone (the humeral head), and the socket is part of the shoulder blade (the glenoid fossa). Surrounding this ball-and-socket joint is a capsule of tissue that envelops the joint.
Normally, the shoulder joint allows more motion with more directions than any other joint in the body. It is, by far, the most complicated joint of the body. When a patient develops a frozen shoulder, the capsule surrounding the joint contracts. The patients form bands of scar tissue called adhesions. In addition, the soft sacs which cushion the joint called bursas may also stick together causing loss of ability to move the shoulder. The contraction of the capsule and the formation of the adhesions cause the frozen shoulder to become stiff and cause movement to become extremely painful.
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