Winter Health Woes: Expert Tips to Navigate Frozen Shoulder Woes

As temperatures drop, our bodies often bear the brunt of the winter chill, with shoulder pain becoming a common affliction that hampers daily activities. Frozen shoulder, also known as adhesive capsulitis, stands out as one of the most prevalent conditions, causing pain, stiffness, and restricted motion in the shoulder. Reports suggest that at least 3 out of 10 individuals grapple with frozen shoulder issues annually during the winter season.

Dr. Prashanth B N, Consultant in Orthopaedic and Robotic Joint Replacement Surgery at Narayana Health City, Bangalore, shared insights with News9, emphasizing the impact of discomfort or a frozen shoulder on an individual’s quality of life. Recognizing the causes, understanding symptoms, and implementing effective management strategies are crucial steps towards regaining mobility during such conditions.

Understanding Frozen Shoulder: “In medical terms, frozen shoulder, known as adhesive capsulitis, is a debilitating condition characterized by stiffness and pain in the shoulder joint. The problem progresses through three distinct stages: pain, stiffness, and resolution. While the exact cause remains elusive, factors such as age, diabetes, previous shoulder injuries, and cold exposure are common triggers,” explained Dr. BN.

Identifying Symptoms: Early diagnosis hinges on recognizing the symptoms of a frozen shoulder. Individuals typically experience a gradual onset of pain, often radiating down the arm. Muscles become stiff, restricting the range of motion and complicating daily activities. Early detection allows for a proactive approach to management.

Strategies for Management:

  1. Physical Therapy: Engaging in a targeted physical therapy regimen is crucial for managing a frozen shoulder. Exercises focus on enhancing muscle flexibility and strengthening the shoulder area, gradually restoring the range of motion.
  2. Medications: Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and corticosteroid injections may be prescribed to alleviate pain and inflammation.
  3. Heat and Ice Therapy: Alternating between heat and ice applications provides relief. Heat relaxes muscles, while cold packs reduce inflammation, effectively managing pain and promoting flexibility.
  4. Joint Distension and Hydrodilatation: In cases of severe stiffness, joint distension or hydrodilatation—a procedure involving injecting sterile water into the joint capsule—may be considered. This helps stretch the capsule and improve the range of motion.
  5. Arthroscopy: Arthroscopic release of adhesion can be performed, aiding in a good and fast recovery.

While frozen shoulder poses a formidable challenge, a comprehensive and personalized approach to management can make a significant difference. Seeking timely medical advice and adhering to a prescribed treatment plan are vital steps on the road to recovery from a frozen shoulder.

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