Adhesive capsulitis is familiar known as frozen shoulder (as the name implies, it can lead to stiffness ‘freezing sensation’ in the affected shoulder). However for some people, it’s not easy to know the existence of this disease. What does it feel like?
The shoulder has tough, flexible tissue surrounding the joint called capsule. Adhesive capsulitis occurs when this capsule becomes inflamed and thickened. The exact cause that triggers this inflammation is not fully understood yet.
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But the following factors can increase your risk of developing this shoulder problem:
- When you have prolonged poor mobility or immobility condition. This may be the result of recovery from surgery, broken arm (arm fracture), stroke, or rotator cuff injury.
- Having a personal history of shoulder surgery or shoulder injury.
- Systemic health conditions (particularly such as diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, thyroid problems (both under and over active thyroid), and cardiovascular diseases).
- Age has an effect, too. In fact, people at the ages of 40 or older are more affected than those who are younger than 40 years old.
And based on the gender, women are at higher risk than women. In other words, if compared to men, women are more affected.
Shoulder contracture is another alternative name for adhesive capsulitis. The problem can lead to pain and stiffness in the affected shoulder.
The signs and symptoms of this joint problem are more likely to develop gradually. Many times, sufferers will experience the symptoms that get worse over a number of weeks, months, or even years.
In the first 2-9 months, you will develop shoulder pain. The pain can be severe enough that may affect your daily routines. The pain is usually followed by increasing stiffness.
The stiffness can be the most challenging thing to cope with this shoulder problem. This symptom can be severe enough to cause poor ability in using the shoulder, such as for driving, bathing, dressing, or even you may not be able to use /move the affected shoulder at all.
So in general, pain and then followed with persistent stiffness in the affected shoulder are two major symptoms you need to deal if you have adhesive capsulitis.
The good news, the problem may improve with time. But this may take many months or even several years!
The capsule, where the inflammation of frozen shoulder occurs, has crucial function to support the movement of your shoulders. It encases three major components of the shoulder; tendons, ligaments, and bones.
At the stage of when this capsule is progressing to become inflamed and thickened, you will feel hurt and pain when you move the joint. This progression is called freezing phase.
The following are three major phases of how adhesive capsulitis progresses: