Frozen shoulder, also known as adhesive capsulitis, is a condition that causes pain and stiffness in the shoulder joint. This condition often develops gradually and worsens over time, making it difficult to perform daily activities that require arm movement. The condition affects about three percent of the general population, with women being more susceptible than men. The symptoms of frozen shoulder can persist for several months, and in some cases, can last for years. In this article, we will look into the causes and diagnosis of the condition as well as the frozen shoulder treatment in Singapore and prevention steps.

What causes frozen shoulder?

The shoulder joint is a ball and socket joint, which means that it is made up of a ball-shaped end of the upper arm bone (humerus) and a socket (glenoid) in the shoulder blade (scapula). A capsule, which is a connective tissue, surrounds the joint and holds everything in place. When someone has frozen shoulder, the capsule becomes thick and tight, making it difficult to move the shoulder joint.

The exact cause of frozen shoulder is not yet fully understood in the medical community, but certain factors can increase the risk of developing the condition. Frozen shoulder can occur after an injury or surgery that limits shoulder movement. People with diabetes are also at higher risk of developing frozen shoulder. Other medical conditions that can lead to frozen shoulder include heart disease, thyroid problems, and Parkinson’s disease.

Some people even develop frozen shoulder without any apparent cause. This type of frozen shoulder is known as idiopathic, and women and people over 40 years old are more likely to develop this type of frozen shoulder.

How to prevent frozen shoulder

There are some things you can do to reduce the risk of developing the condition. One way is to stay active and maintain good shoulder mobility. Regular exercise can help keep the shoulder joint flexible and prevent the capsule from becoming tight and thick. If you have a medical condition that puts you at risk for frozen shoulder, it is important to manage that condition as well. For example, people with diabetes should work to keep their blood sugar levels under control to reduce the risk of developing frozen shoulder.

How to diagnose frozen shoulder

A doctor will typically perform a physical exam and ask about the patient’s medical history and symptoms. They may also order imaging tests, such as an X-ray or MRI, to rule out other conditions that could be causing the symptoms.

During the physical exam, the doctor will check the range of motion in the shoulder joint and look for signs of stiffness and pain. They may also move the arm in different directions to see where the pain is coming from.

If you are experiencing symptoms of frozen shoulder, it is important to seek medical attention to receive an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment. With the right treatment, most people with frozen shoulder are able to regain full shoulder mobility and return to their normal activities.

Treatment options for frozen shoulder

There are several treatment options available for frozen shoulder, depending on the severity of the condition. In most cases, treatment involves managing the symptoms effectively.

One common treatment for frozen shoulder is physical therapy. A physical therapist can work with the patient to develop a plan that includes stretching and strengthening exercises to improve shoulder mobility and reduce pain. In some cases, doctors may recommend medications, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to reduce pain and inflammation in the shoulder joint.

Physiotherapy for frozen shoulder

Exercises and manual therapy techniques are known to improve the function and mobility of the shoulder joint. A physiotherapist can work with the patient to develop a plan that includes stretching and strengthening exercises to improve shoulder mobility and reduce pain. Physiotherapy can be an effective treatment for frozen shoulder, especially when combined with other therapies such as medications and hot or cold therapy.

Relieving frozen shoulder pain through exercise and home remedies

One common exercise that can help relieve frozen shoulder pain is the pendulum exercise, where the patient stands with their feet shoulder-width apart and leans forward, using their unaffected arm to support their weight. They then swing their affected arm back and forth in a pendulum motion. Another exercise is the towel stretch. When performing this exercise, the patient holds a towel or elastic band behind their back with both hands and pulls it upward with their unaffected arm. This stretches the shoulder capsule and helps improve mobility.

In addition to medical treatment and exercise, home remedies can also alleviate the symptoms of frozen shoulder. Applying heat or cold to the affected area can help reduce pain and inflammation while a gentle massage improves circulation and reduces stiffness in the shoulder joint. Over-the-counter pain medications, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen, can reduce pain and inflammation.

If you have been diagnosed with the condition, it is important to rest the affected arm and avoid activities that aggravate the symptoms.

Surgery for frozen shoulder

In severe cases, surgery may be necessary to treat frozen shoulder. This is usually only recommended when other treatments have failed to improve the symptoms. The most common surgical procedure for frozen shoulder is manipulation under anesthesia, where the patient is put under anesthesia and the doctor moves the arm to stretch the capsule and improve shoulder mobility. Another surgical procedure is called arthroscopic capsular release, where the doctor uses a small camera and surgical instruments to cut through the capsule and treat the affected site.


Camden Medical Centre #06-01 Singapore 248649

Phone: 6235 2347

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