Frozen shoulder, also called adhesive capsulitis, is a painful condition in which the movement of the shoulder becomes limited.
Frozen shoulder occurs when the strong connective tissue surrounding the shoulder joint (called the shoulder joint capsule) become thick, stiff, and inflamed. (The joint capsule contains the ligaments that attach the top of the upper arm bone [humeral head] to the shoulder socket [glenoid], firmly holding the joint in place. This is more commonly known as the “ball and socket” joint.)
The condition is called “frozen” shoulder because the more pain that is felt, the less likely the shoulder will be used. Lack of use causes the shoulder capsule to thicken and becomes tight, making the shoulder even more difficult to move — it is “frozen” in its position.
Sign and symptoms of frozen shoulder
Symptoms of frozen shoulder are divided into three stages:
- The “freezing” stage:
In this stage, the shoulder becomes stiff and is painful to move. The pain slowly increases. It may worsen at night. Inability to move the shoulder increases. This stage lasts 6 weeks to 9 months.
- The “frozen” stage:
In this stage, pain may lessen, but the shoulder remains stiff. This makes it more difficult to complete daily tasks and activities. This stage lasts 2 to 6 months.
- The “thawing” (recovery) stage:
In this stage, pain lessens, and ability to move the shoulder slowly improves. Full or near full recovery occurs as normal strength and motion return. The stage lasts 6 months to 2 years.
The shoulder is a ball and socket joint. It is made up of three bones namely Humerus (bone in the upper arm), Scapula (shoulder blade), Clavicle (collarbone). Strong connective tissue or shoulder capsule surrounds the joint and holds everything (bones, ligaments, tendons) together. Also, there is the presence of synovial membrane which lines the joint capsule and produces synovial fluid. Synovial fluid helps in providing lubrication to the joint and the capsule and reducing the friction between the bones, making the movement of the shoulder easier.
When inflammation of the shoulder capsule starts and thick bands of the tissue or adhesion start developing, there is less room in joint for the humerus, making the joint painful and stiff to move. It can further progress to a restriction of the movement of the shoulder.
In some cases, the synovial fluid can get reduced due to different causes. Reduction in the amount of the fluid can lead to limiting the motion of the shoulder even more due to the occurrence of pain during motion. Any fall on the shoulder or any injury to the adjacent tissues of the shoulder can also give rise to this condition. Alternately, it may have an autoimmune component involved as thickening and swelling can occur as a result of a misguided immune response. In some cases, this condition can arise with no absolute cause.
- Age: Adults, most commonly between 40 and 60 years old.
- Gender: More common in women than men.
- Recent shoulder injury: Any shoulder injury or surgery that results in the need to keep the shoulder from moving (i.e., by using a shoulder brace, sling, shoulder wrap, etc.). Examples include a rotator cuff tear and fractures of the shoulder blade, collarbone or upper arm.
- Diabetes: Between 10 and 20 percent of individuals with diabetes mellitus develop frozen shoulder.
- Other health diseases and conditions: Includes stroke, hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid gland), hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid gland), Parkinson’s disease and heart disease. Stroke is a risk factor for frozen shoulder because movement of an arm and shoulder may be limited. Why other diseases and conditions increase the risk of developing a frozen shoulder is not clear.
To diagnose frozen shoulder, the doctor will:
- Discuss the symptoms and review the medical history.
- Conduct a physical exam of the arms and shoulders:
- The doctor will move the shoulder in all directions to check the range of motion and if there is pain with movement. This type of exam, in which the doctor is moving the arm, is called determining “passive range of motion.”
- The doctor will also watch move the shoulder to see “active range of motion.”
- The two types of motion are compared. People with frozen shoulder have limited range of both active and passive motion.
- X-rays of the shoulder are also routinely obtained to make sure the cause of the symptoms is not due to another problem with the shoulder, such as arthritis. Advanced imaging tests, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and ultrasound, are usually not needed to diagnose frozen shoulder. They may be taken to look for other problems, such as a rotator cuff tear.
Homeopathy treatment for frozen shoulder is the best choice as it can treat the condition naturally without using any invasive procedures and pain killers. Homeopathy personalized constitutional homeopathy treatment for frozen shoulder and has treated several people suffering from it successfully. Homeopathy has always been helpful in treating symptoms of frozen shoulder and minimizing the chances of recurrence of the condition and can help an individual to maintain a healthy lifestyle once he has completely recovered from the condition.
Rhustox is a wonderful medicine that can help to relieve long-standing cases of marked stiffness in the shoulder joint. The shoulder is too stiff to move. The stiffness of shoulder gets usually better by warmth application. It can also be helpful in cases where motion and massages tend to offer relief in the stiffness. There is severe tearing, shooting pain at the top of the shoulder. Pains get worse during cold and wet weather. Pains become severe during the rest especially in night preventing the patient to fall asleep. There is a constant feeling of pressure on shoulders like a heavyweight is placed upon them.
Sanguinaria Can. is a great remedy which shows an affinity towards the pains occurring in the right shoulder. Pains are present in the top of right shoulder. Pains usually get worse during the night and while attempting to turn in bed. The patient feels great difficulty to raise the arm on account of distressing pains.
Ferrum met. is an amazing remedy for treating a complaint of left-sided frozen shoulder. There is a pain in the left shoulder which is constantly present. Pain is of drawing, shooting, tearing and laming character. Pains are usually shooting downward and travel down the arm and patient may feel it impossible to raise the arm. The person requiring this remedy feels extreme heaviness in the shoulder joint. Slow movement of the shoulder gradually improves the condition. Warmth can be given to relieve the pains. Pain gets aggravated in bed; the patient has to get up and move about slowly to get some relief.
Bryonia is an excellent remedy in cases where the pain in the shoulder gets worse from least motion. Pains are sharp and tearing in character which usually gets worse upon touch and by pressure. Relief of the pains takes place after the patient has complete rest. Application of the warmth can also be helpful in relieving the pains in the shoulder. There is painful pressure on the top of the shoulder. Stiffness is present in the shoulder joints.
Causticum is a good remedy in treating the cases of frozen shoulder where pains in the shoulder are worse in the morning. The patient may experience great discomfort and difficulty in moving the shoulder. There is a constant feeling of pressure and heaviness on shoulders. Pain which is dull, aching in character is present in the shoulder usually getting worse on motion.
Phytolacca can be given in cases of frozen shoulder where the pain is present in the right shoulder. Pains in the shoulder and arms feel like electric shocks. Pains are shooting in character and travel from one part to the other. Pains usually worsen during the night and in damp weather. Patient experiences stiffness in the shoulder that usually makes him unable to raise the arm.
Ledum Pal is prepared from the plant wild rosemary which belongs to the family Ericaceae. Ledum Pal. suits well in the cases where the patient experiences severe pain in the shoulder while raising the arm. The pains are stitching and throbbing in nature. There is pain and pressure in both the shoulder joints which gets worse from motion.
Calcarea Phos. can be given without a doubt in cases of frozen shoulder where pain gets worse from any change of weather. There is pain and stiffness in shoulders and shoulder-blades. Pains are dull, sore aching, bruised type in the shoulder and down the arm. Pains start from left then travel to the right and can travel downward to the arm as well.
Chelidonium is the most suitable medicine in cases where there is a pain in the shoulder which gets worse on moving arm. Pain in the left shoulder feels like as if it was sprained. Pains are tearing in nature. Pain usually travels downwards with coldness and stiffness of the arms.
Rhododendron can be of extreme help in cases where there is marked pain in shoulder and gets during a thunderstorm. The patient usually feels pains which get worse while lying upon it and getting relieved by turning to the other side. Violent, tearing and boring type of pains occur in the shoulder which can worsen from motion.
Guaiacum can act wonders in cases where there is immovable stiffness of the joints taking place. There is a sharp stitching type of pains in the top of the shoulder. Pains are of drawing and lacerating nature which can travel down the arm.
Syphilinum acts well on the patients of frozen shoulder well where the pain in the shoulder worsens on raising the arm. The patient is able to raise the arm only up to the level of the shoulder with difficulty. He fails to attempt to move the arm above the level of the shoulder.
Persons requiring Ferrum phos. get in the shoulder which gets relieved by moving the arm gently. The pains are violent, drawing and tearing in nature and gets worse by the sudden or violent motion of the arm. As the condition is relieved by gentle motion, the patient keeps it moving and cannot make the arm still. The shoulder is stiff, painful and highly sensitive to touch.
Thuja can aid the condition well when there is marked stiffness of the shoulder joint. There is sticking, tearing, throbbing type of pains in the shoulder which can get worse even from hanging the arm lose. Pains can also get worse at night and by the warmth of bed. Placing the arm over the head is extremely painful for the patient. Stretching the joints produces cracking sound.
Lycopodium can help in relieving the condition of frozen shoulder where there is tearing type of pains in the shoulder joint. There is pain and tension in the right shoulder. Pain can occur even when the patient is at rest. Bruised pains in shoulders and in the region of scapula and upper arm. One may also experience twitching in the shoulders.
Sulphur can be helpful in treating cases where extreme heaviness in the shoulders is felt by the patient. There is a feeling of pressure on the shoulder while walking in the open air. There are pains in the left shoulder as if it was sprained or bruised. There is stitching type of pains in the shoulder on attempting to move. The patient usually experiences worsening of pains, especially at night.
It is useful in torn ligaments, especially in the shoulder, affecting the mobility of the joint. Stiffness of shoulder joint.
Ruta graveolens is effective in frozen shoulder due to tendon strain and sprains. The patient complains of pain in the neck that is relieved by lying on the back as it applies pressure. The patient feels that the pain is so violent as if his shoulder is getting torn. Or that the shoulder feels bruised as if he has had an injury. When you come across such symptoms, Ruta can be relied on to cure them. Ruta also cures frozen shoulder after injury or after bruises . In some cases, people complain of frozen shoulder after an injury or after bruises.
Magnesium carbonicum is another effective remedy for frozen shoulder with tearing pain in shoulders as if dislocated. Right shoulder is more affected, cannot raise it.