How do You Get Frozen Shoulder Syndrome?
Frozen shoulder syndrome is a common complaint I see often, probably because I do a lot of manipulation under anesthesia in Myrtle Beach which is one of the ways of treating the condition, particularly when it gets very bad.
Frozen shoulder syndrome can be a tricky condition to treat because there’s not a concrete reason for why it happens. It generally begins with a little pain in the shoulder which remains for a while (by the way, this is the time to come in and get it treated because if left, it can become harder to treat and more painful, as you will see). What I have seen happen is people tend to battle on despite the pain, and then it slowly increases. Next, the person’s range of motion begins to deteriorate and becomes more restricted. As this happens over a long period of time, the patient doesn’t typically notice so much, and adapts to this. This happens because scar tissue and adhesions form and increase, which impacts on the joint, muscles tighten around it, and eventually it becomes locked or frozen.
At this point, the patient finds it difficult to reach behind their heads (to comb hair for example), reach into their back pockets and even lifting the arm at the side.
I have asked many patients when they feel it got so bad, and most really cannot pinpoint an exact time it got so bad. This is because it happens so slowly, and they don’t notice the deterioration.
How do you get frozen shoulder syndrome?
Typically, there’s no one reason why it occurs, it can be one or more underlying issues interacting together. There have been studies that suggest it may take up to 3 years for the issue to resolve on its own. Why wait that long? Here are a few of the things I see and experience with patients I have seen over the years:
Personal Injury cases
I see many auto accident victims who have whiplash injuries. Sometimes the injury isn’t treated after the accident, and what happens is the small tears caused by whiplash injuries heal incorrectly on their own and create pressure on joints, which then ultimately forms scar tissue and adhesions. Again, left untreated, this gets worse and worse, joints do not work properly, cause friction, which in turn creates inflammation, and so the joint slowly freezes up.
After shoulder surgery, the patient should undergo a series a physical therapy sessions to ensure proper healing and range of motion kept up. What happens is patients lapse with their therapy sessions, they feel great and don’t think they need it. The problem is that over time scar tissues form due to incorrect healing, and the patient is back to square one.
Many people are in jobs that have a great deal of repetition to them. Picking things up, working on factory lines etc. They are doing the same thing over and over, which causes friction, builds up scar tissue, and then range of motion decreases and so on.
Trauma is another big reason. For example, falling and landing on the shoulder and injuring it, or even falling off a ladder and holding on to it can create trauma. Once again, the same pattern will form and the patient could develop frozen shoulder syndrome.
How can you fix frozen shoulder syndrome?
Firstly, the injury needs to be examined. So you will come to my office, and we will discuss the problem and take some X-rays and see what’s going on. Depending on the case, an MRI scan may also be necessary to fully understand any soft tissue issues as well.
We can firstly try conservative approaches to the problem, chiropractic adjustments, pain injections into the area to reduce inflammation and two of the most common ways to combat it. Also, as I have seen the issue so often, I can show specific exercises and stretches to do if you are able to handle it. These treatments can work very well, especially if combined.
However, if your condition is so bad, we can perform what’s known as manipulation under anesthesia (MUA) which is a simple procedure done in the surgical setting. It takes only 20 minutes to do the procedure, but you will be under anesthesia, so you’ll need someone to take you home afterwards. Once under, I will perform a series of manipulations and adjustments to break up the scar tissue and adhesions, to get the joint moving properly again. I have performed hundreds of MUA and have in excess of a 90% success rate.
If you are suffering from frozen shoulder syndrome in Myrtle Beach, come in and see me as soon as possible and we can work with you to get you out of pain. If you have a pain in your shoulder, but are still moving around fine, this is the time to get it checked and treated so as to save a lot of potential complications in the future.