Capsulitis is a painful condition in which the shoulder joint becomes inflamed and its movement becomes limited.
The cause of capsulitis is unknown, but it is thought to be the result of an injury, infection, or autoimmune disease. The most common symptom is pain, which can be severe. The shoulder may also become stiff and difficult to move.
This is treated with a combination of rest, ice, and physical therapy. Surgery is rarely necessary.
What Are the Causes of Capsulitis?
Capsulitis is a condition that results in the shoulder becoming frozen.
It is caused by the shoulder joint capsule becoming inflamed and thickened. This limits the range of motion in the shoulder and can cause a great deal of pain.
The condition can be caused by a number of factors, including overuse of the shoulder, injury, and infection. It can also occur as a side effect of surgery or radiation therapy.
The most common treatment for Frozen Shoulder is physiotherapy, which can help to restore range of motion and reduce pain. Other treatments include medications and surgery.
Diagnosis & Tests for Capsulitis
Once you have a suspicion that you might be suffering from frozen shoulder, the next step is to go get diagnosed.
There are a few different tests that can be used to diagnose adhesive capsulitis. One is a simple physical examination, in which your doctor will try to move your arm and shoulder in different directions. If your range of motion is limited, this could be a sign of capsulitis.
Another common test is an MRI or X-ray, which can help to rule out other causes of shoulder pain. If the results of these tests are inconclusive, your doctor might order a arthrogram, which is an X-ray of the joint after injection of a contrast material.
Treatment Options for Capsulitis
Treatment options for capsulitis can vary, depending on the severity of your condition. For milder cases, increasing range of motion through exercise will likely be recommended. Physiotherapy can also help stretch and strengthen the shoulder joint and surrounding muscles, helping to reduce pain and stiffness. If necessary, oral medications or injections may also be used to decrease inflammation and relieve pain. Finally, in more severe cases, shoulder manipulation or surgery may be necessary to help restore range of motion.
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Depending on the individual case, the treatment plan may take weeks to months, and occasional flares and reactivation of inflammation will occur. During the treatment period, it is important to practice good posture and use proper body mechanics to reduce stress on the shoulder joint. If a specific activity or movement causes pain, it is best to avoid it. Additionally, a sling, shoulder immobilizer, or shoulder strap may be recommended to limit shoulder movement while the shoulder heals, to help reduce inflammation and promote a healthy recovery.
For those who suffer from chronic, recurrent, or more severe capsulitis, doctors may suggest additional treatments, including: ultrasound-guided steroid injections, hydrotherapy, acupuncture, or prolotherapy. Cold compresses, heat compresses, or cryotherapy can also be used for pain relief and relaxation. Treatment for frozen shoulder can further incorporate lifestyle changes, such as limiting activities or jobs that require constant shoulder movement, or reducing overall work stress, as well as incorporating relaxation techniques, such as massage, yoga, or meditation.
It is also important to maintain the muscle strength and flexibility in the shoulder joint to reduce the risk of re-injury and allow for full range of motion. Patients should be sure to consult with their doctor or physiotherapist before beginning any exercise or treatment plan. With the right combination of treatments, capsulitis can be prevented or managed effectively.
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Exercises and Physical Therapy
If you’ve been diagnosed with capsulitis, it is important to begin physical therapy and exercises as soon as possible in order to alleviate pain and restore range of motion. However, it is important to note that the condition can worsen if exercises are done incorrectly. It is best to work with a physical therapist who has experience working with frozen shoulders or capsulitis.
Your physical therapist will recommend exercises specifically designed for your condition and tailor them to your needs. The type of exercises prescribed may include stretching, strengthening, mobilization, and massage. Exercises should be done at least twice a week for 8-12 weeks in order for them to be effective.
Prevention and Outlook
To prevent frozen shoulder, stretching and strengthening exercises are important, especially if someone has had a previous injury. To keep the shoulder loose and flexible, various stretches can be done for maintaining range of motion and flexibility. Be sure to listen to your body and stop exercising if pain or discomfort occurs.
It is worth noting that adhesive capsulitis can be a recurrent condition. If it recurs, one should remember that rehabilitation may take more time. With patience and dedication, however, the condition could eventually resolve and range of motion can improve significantly over time.
In some cases, corticosteroid injections may be necessary to help reduce pain and inflammation. Physical therapy is often recommended after steroid injections, as it can help speed up the recovery process. In more severe cases, surgery may be considered.
Capsulitis is generally a self-limiting condition, meaning it can gradually resolve on its own without any medical intervention. However, it is important to consult with a medical professional for both diagnosis and treatment. Moreover, take measures to prevent future frozen shoulder episodes.
Staying physically active, maintaining a healthy weight, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle all play a key role in preventing frozen shoulder. Besides these preventive measures, seek out medical attention promptly if any shoulder difficulties arise as earlier diagnosis and treatment may better improve the prognosis of adhesive capsulitis. Together with a combination of rehabilitative measures, including physical and occupational therapy, it is possible to treat and manage a frozen shoulder and restore range of motion and strength.
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