The shoulder is designed to give a large amount of movement. Some movement occurs between the shoulder blade and the chest wall, but most movements are at the ball and socket joint.
The ball at the top of your arm bone (humerus) fits into the shallow socket (glenoid) which is part of the shoulder blade (scapula). There is a loose bag or capsule which surrounds the joint. This is supported by ligaments and muscles.
A Frozen Shoulder is an extremely painful condition in which the shoulder is completely or partially unmovable. Frozen shoulder often starts spontaneously, but can be triggered by a mild injury to the shoulder.
The following people are more likely to develop a frozen shoulder :
- If you are aged between 40 and 60 years of age.
- If you have diabetes or heart disease.
- It can also come on after a minor accident/injury or after an operation.
Three stages of development:
Your shoulder should get better over time. For most people a frozen shoulder has three phases:
Phase 1 : The pain comes on and gets worse. As a result, there is a loss of shoulder movement. This lasts for about 4-6 months.
Phase 2 : The pain settles down, but the shoulder remains very stiff. This lasts for 4-6 months.
Phase 3 : The stiffness improves and shoulder function and mobility returns. This takes about 6 months to a year.
Your shoulder is likely to get better on its own, but it can take up to two years for complete recovery to take place. About four in five people will make a complete recovery but the rest may be left with some pain and stiffness
What is the chance of my other shoulder becoming frozen?
About one in five people (20%) get a frozen shoulder on the other side. If you are diabetic, it is much more common to get a frozen shoulder on the other side. The stiffness takes much longer to go away and may never go away entirely.
Mostly unknown, however, since frozen shoulder may set in as a result of under use or immobilization of the shoulder, it is important not to neglect a painful injury as it may lead to stiffness.
If symptoms persist, treatments are available to relieve pain and stiffness.