Frozen shoulder, or adhesive capsulitis, is a common condition characterized by a stiffness in one or both shoulders, which reduces the mobility, as well as persistent pain in the upper shoulder joint.
This condition usually affects people aged between 40 and 60, and about 3% of the population. If you suffer from this condition, you should seek medical attention to treat it and prevent additional complications.
The pain and stiffness in the shoulder gradually develop over time, and their cause is not fully understood. The symptoms are divided into three stages, worsen gradually, and usually resolve within a few years.
These are the stages:
Freezing, or painful stage: The stage lasts for 6-9 months, and the pain increases gradually
Frozen: At this stage, which lasts for 4-6 months, the pain does not increase, but the shoulder remains stiff
Thawing: This stage lasts for 1-2 years, and the pain gradually fades.
In most cases, the main reason is the formation of scar tissue in the shoulder, which thickens and tightens the capsule of the joint, and the movement is reduced and leads to pain. Moreover, the immobility and stiffness might also be caused by a fracture or injuries.
When it comes to the risk factors, women older than 40 and diabetics are at an increased risk. Namely, 70percent of the people suffering from this issue are women. Furthermore, a frozen shoulder might be a result of surgery or an arm fracture.
The risk is also increased in the case of a:
- Heart disease
- hyperthyroidism, or overactive thyroid
- hypothyroidism, or underactive thyroid
- Parkinson’s disease
A frozen shoulder can be diagnosed based on the symptoms, signs, and a physical exam, while an X-ray or Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) can identify the structural issues.
The treatment should soothe the pain and preserve the flexibility and mobility of the shoulder. Yet, the recovery might be slow, and It might need years for the symptoms to fully disappear.
These are the most effective ways to treat this condition:
Physical therapy: Exercises boost flexibility and mobility of the shoulder
Shoulder manipulation: The shoulder joint is gently moved to boost the mobility
Shoulder arthroscopy: This surgery includes an insertion of a small endoscope, or tube, into the shoulder joint to eliminate any scar tissue or adhesions.
Hot or cold compression packs: these packs reduce the swelling and pain
Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS): It numbs the nerve endings in the spinal cord that are associated with pain control.
The main cause of a frozen shoulder is usually inflammation in the joints, and its treatment will naturally relieve the pain and improve the flexibility of the joints.
Here are some effective natural ways to soothe the inflammation in the shoulder area:
- Enjoy a warm Epsom salt bath to boost the circulation and relieve the pain
- Gently massage the area to soothe the discomfort
- Add a few tablespoons of apple cider vinegar to your bath to soothe the inflammation
- Massage the shoulder area with coconut oil to treat the shoulder pain and fight the inflammation
- Consume a few cups of ginger tea daily to enjoy its healing qualities
- Apply lavender essential oil diluted with some carrier oil to the area to relax the muscles and alleviate inflammation
- Consume blackstrap molasses with some water, ACV, ginger, and honey
- Apply olive oil to the shoulder to treat the swelling and soothe the pain
- Mix honey and lime and use the mixture to treat shoulder pain
- Mix cayenne pepper with olive oil and apply the paste on the affected area
- Boil garlic cloves in coconut oil and use the mixture to soothe the pain in the shoulders
- Apply crushed mint leaves on the area of the shoulders to reduce the swellings and pain