Do you experience persistent pain and stiffness in your shoulder that worsens during the night? If so, you may be suffering from a condition referred to as frozen shoulder, in which the tissues around the shoulder joint become inflamed. If left untreated, a frozen shoulder can persist for years.
At Premier Spine Institute, with locations in The Woodlands, Humble, and Baytown, Texas, Bonaventure Ngu, MD, regularly treats patients with a frozen shoulder. In this blog, he discusses the condition’s signs, causes, and potential treatments.
Symptoms of a frozen shoulder
The main symptoms are pain and stiffness in the shoulder area. You may also feel pain radiating to your upper arm.
In the first stage, also known as the freezing stage, pain occurs when you move your shoulder. The pain usually worsens over time. This stage can last 6-12 months.
In the second stage, your pain may reduce in severity, but your shoulder can become stiffer to the point where the lack of mobility interferes with your daily activities. This stage can last 6-12 months.
In the final stage, your shoulder’s ability to move may improve slowly. This stage can last up to 2 years.
Risk factors for a frozen shoulder
A frozen shoulder may develop due to an injury or elevated blood sugar levels. It’s not clear why diabetes is linked to this condition, but estimates indicate that diabetics are twice as likely to suffer from it.
Insulin resistance and elevated blood sugar levels promote a proinflammatory state in the body, which could explain why the shoulders of diabetics are more likely to become inflamed.
Therefore, if you experience the symptoms of a frozen shoulder, you should get tested for insulin resistance and diabetes to rule out these conditions as potential causes for your symptoms.
Treatment options for a frozen shoulder
Depending on the cause, there are several ways to go about treating it, including the following:
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) for controlling inflammation
- Antispasmodics for treating muscle spasms
- Antidepressants for blocking pain signals
- Physical therapy for strengthening and improving shoulder flexibility
- Epidural steroid injections for long-term pain relief
If you’re diagnosed with insulin resistance or diabetes, your treatment may also involve dietary changes, such as eating more balanced meals and reducing your carbohydrate intake to reduce insulin spikes and blood sugar spikes.
If you have a frozen shoulder or want to see if you do, we can examine your condition and put you on the path to better health. To learn more, book an appointment online or over the phone with Premier Spine Institute today.