Frozen shoulder (also known as adhesive capsulitis) is a condition when the shoulder’s motion becomes limited as if it was actually “frozen.” This loss of motion is due to the joint capsule, or the tissue around the joint, constricting down. This condition is caused by inflammation within the joint. This swelling makes the shoulder joint stiff and painful to move. Other reasons for frozen shoulder can be due to excess scar tissue and/or any shrinking or thickening of the joint itself. There are many sources of this condition such as:
- Recent injury
- Lack of exercise or immobility
- Recent surgery (immobilizing the shoulder for recovery)
Most symptoms of frozen shoulder are pain when moving the shoulder, increasing stiffness around the shoulder joint, and the inability to move or any limitation of motion of the shoulder. These symptoms can make it uncomfortable to complete daily tasks and some may experience trouble sleeping.
Treatments for frozen shoulder depending on the severity can range from physical therapy to injections. In fact, a trigger point injection (also known as TPI) is one type of treatment that can successfully relieve the pain that accompanies frozen shoulder and it also aids in releasing the stiffness. Trigger point injections are injections of lidocaine to an area, in this case the shoulder joint, which inactivates the trigger point, relieving the pain. With frozen shoulder, these injections will pause the nerve transmission of pain to the shoulder, and once it starts back up again the pain will have subsided. Ridding of the stiffness and inflammation, will in turn allow the shoulder joint to gain back its full range of motion.
If you are experiencing pain, stiffness, and/or a limitation in your shoulder’s motion or if you are interested in getting trigger point injections, please contact Dr. Diane Lee at Seattle Naturopathic and Acupuncture Center at (206) 319-5322.