Frozen shoulder – Is shoulder replacement the only option?

September 12, 2017 Bone Health 11158 Views


Frozen shoulder is a medical condition in which your shoulder’s range of movement gets restricted. You feel pain, stiffness and difficulties as you attempt to move your shoulder.

The symptoms and severity of the condition depends on which stage your “frozen shoulder” is in. There are 3 stages and symptoms often worsen with the stages.

  •  Freezing stage Stage 1 –: Stiff and painful movements with pain being worse all night characterizes this stage.
  •  Frozen stage Stage 2 –: Stiffness increases, degree of pain remains same but the range of motion gets restricted.
  • Thawing stage Stage 3 –: Movements get better and easy and pain may also fade to a great extent. However, the symptoms may occasionally reoccur.

Causes of frozen shoulder

Frozen shoulder condition usually follows an injury or fracture. The doctors don’t know the exact cause. But they think it happens because of use some scar tissue forms in the shoulder.

Treatment Options

To treat Frozen Shoulder, the physician usually begins with prescribing Non-Steroidal Anti Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) and recommending the application of heat at the affected area. Physical therapy sometimes compliments it and follow it to restore the range of motion. When medicines and other non-surgical methods don’t seem to improve the condition, surgeries are done to loosen the tissues surrounding shoulder bone by an orthopedic surgeon.

Manipulation and Replacement are the two surgeries that surgeons perform to improve the condition.

Shoulder manipulation procedure involves stretching of tight tissues by repositioning the arm while replacement therapy involves replacement of the damaged parts of shoulder bone and joints with artificial ones. Surgeons perform both these procedures under anesthesia.

When will doctor recommend you shoulder replacement?

Doctors do shoulder replacement:

  • When pain is so severe that it starts interfering with the day to day activities such as washing, bathing and changing clothes.
  • When pain elevates while resting, and s annoying enough to disturb your good night’s sleep.
  • Unexplained fatigue and weakness accompanied with loss of motion in the shoulder.
  • When NSAIDs and other medications or physical therapy fail to improve the condition.

Is shoulder replacement the only option?

Treatment of the frozen shoulder involves administration of medicines (NSAIDS and certain corticosteroids), application of heat and ice to the affected area and physical therapy.

Doctors consider surgical procedures when nothing seems to treat the cause and/or reduce the symptoms. However, the choice of surgical procedures is again something that depends on the condition of the patient and the cause of frozen shoulder.

Hence many doctor’s think that shoulder replacement isn’t the only option but may be the final option for the critical cases.

Want to know more about shoulder replacement? Visit your nearest orthopedic surgeon today.

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