Frozen Shoulder

raggiemomMarch 18, 2010

HI all. I frequently read this board, but this is my first time posting. I have frozen shoulder in both of my shoulders. I have seen the ortho doctor and they gave me a steroid shot and some pain pills. Can't tell that the shot did any good. Pills help some, but they make me drowsy for 12 - 14 hours. That's not a good thing when you have to work. I do ok during the day, but have a lot of trouble sleeping at night because of the pain. The way I sleep is about the most painful position for my shoulder. I try to sleep differently, but the minute I start to doze off, I automatically go into my normal sleep position and wake up.

Any one have any ideas?

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I have had both shoulders frozen but at different times. I let the first one go too long but finally had a manipulation done on it, followed up with a few sessions of physical therapy. After that I had to do excerises at home for several months. The second shoulder I had about 2 years later. I got the manipulation done sooner on that one and had less trouble getting full range back from it.

The first one was caused by overusing the muscles, then when it hurt I "rested" them too long. The second just happened but the doctor said it probably was because I used it in place of the other one so much. There is also a theory that it is somehow related to hormones and/or diabetes. I have neither - had a total hysterectomy 20+ years ago, and am not diabetic.

As far as things to do at home, I used Biofreeze at night before I went to bed. Its a rub on gel that really did help make it easier to sleep. I also used to sleep with my arm raised above my head and my head on my shoulder. I learned to sleep on my back with my hands clasped. If I rolled on my side during the night, I tended to keep my arms down at least. Also, if you do excerises, put a damp towel in the microwave, heat it till it as hot as you can stand, wrap it around your shoulder for 5 minutes. Then do the excerises. Follow those up with a cold gel pack. Both feel good. Do not use dry heat.

It won't get better without help. Physical therapy only made it worse before the manipulation. Manipulation is where they put you to sleep (not heavily but enough that you don't know whats happening) and they wrench your arm to break the adhesions that have formed. They give you the steroid shots too while you are asleep ( I had refused them before because I was told they damaged your tissue). You have therapy to make you move your shoulder so it won't freeze back up, think 8 sessions or so. It hurts but if you do the excerises at home, they help.

Aleve helped me as much as the pain meds did for the most part. I would consider the manipulation, it wasn't bad at all and as I said I have full range in both arms now.

Do a search and you will find more people who have gone through the same thing.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2010 at 9:41PM
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I, too, have had bilateral frozen shoulders, but at different times. I had PT to help with stretching & healing, but the most helpful was when they massaged deep in the underarm area. I worked diligently with the PT, did my home exercises & it eventually resolved. They also did electric stim and ultrasound as well as heat & ice during PT

I have read that they will resolve even w/o intervention, but it can take a year or so. My sympathies to not fun!

    Bookmark   March 19, 2010 at 9:14PM
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Raggiemom, I fell a couple years ago against a door frame. I could move it, so didn't think it was broken or any damage had occurred. But, as the months went on, my arm became harder and harder to lift. Five months later, I could hardly move it. Of course, I thought moving it was bad and keeping it still was good. I learned that isn't so.

X-rays didn't show anything, so I went to PT. I also had some big relief (a few days later) with the deep underarm massage. It didn't feel good while she was doing it, but I quickly learned that the relief later was wonderful in places and asked her to do it again the next time I went back. Ice is best for inflamation, heat can make it worse. So I used ice a lot, but only for about 15 to 20 minutes at a time.

After about 3 months of PT I was not getting better, so my physical therapist thought an MRI was in order. It showed that not only did I have frozen shoulder (medical term is adhesive capsulitis), but a tear that was separated could be seen. If a tear is still attached it usually can heal itself. But if it is separated, the only way to correct it is by surgery.

So, almost a year afer my fall, I had surgery to repair the tear, to free up the frozen shoulder and to do what they could to help with some of the inflamation (I had a lot and the doctor told me it could take a year for my body to reabsorb it). The shoulder, I was told, is the hardest joint to get back to normal, and 7 months post op I am almost perfect. Inflamation still bothering me, and I can't reach perfectly, if you look closely, but I am so different from where I was. It takes work and patience, knowing it won't happen over night is a must, but it will happen.

If you don't have a tear, from what I understand, it can come back on it's own, with or without help (I would suggest help, it's easier knowing the proper way to move). If you do have a tear, you may need more help. Keep it moving the right way. Do a search on frozen shoulder, you will learn a lot.

I wish you well. Keep us posted.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2010 at 6:50PM
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raggiemom, did it ever get better? I went to see a chiropractor today and he said that's what I have. He said I needed a massage therapist to work it out and to do special exercises 3 times a day, ice before & after.
Any other suggestions?

    Bookmark   August 9, 2010 at 6:31PM
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I got book "Frozen Shoulder Workbook" by Claire Davise, and am doing trigger points massage,as shown in the book, it helps. Besides that I am really studying the muscles involved in FS with the help of internet. That allows me to perform better massage on myself. I also have PT for 2 months already. Altogether have FS for 6 months.
My scapula starts unfreesing, capsula needs more time.
After therapy I mostly can sleep whole 7 hours without waking, on the other days the night is hellish, broken into incriments of 2, 3 hour sleep with hours in between spent trying to eliminate pain. I am hopeful, that in a couple of months I'd be greatly inproved. I take Ibuprofin, St. Jphn's Wart, Echinacea sometimes, and lately Turmeric, Chemomile tea, Green tea. Also noticed thateating cheese helps, apparently it relaxes muscles.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2011 at 9:03AM
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Its a year now that I have had mine. Its getting better but its still there. I quit going to the Dr and taking anything for it. It never did any good. It just has to work its way out in time.
Get some 2 lb dumbells and work your arms with them, that seems to be helping me.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2011 at 11:39PM
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i had it. i looked up 'simple' excerises on youtube, and did them twice a day, gently. i have no sign of it now.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2012 at 1:57PM
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I had this in my right arm, and I'm left handed. It hurt so bad, every little movement of my arm was excruciating. My GP doctor said to try PT, and I did, and it hurt so much I was in tears immediately and quit going. I finally went to an orthopaedic doctor who injected my shoulder several different times in different places in that area. It eventually went away, but I think it took about a good year. It was unbelievable. I slept in a lounge chair, because if I slept in a bed, and moved the arm to roll over or whatever, it was excruciating pain me for. I was in tears so many times. What a weird syndrome. I had never heard of it before until I got it myself. I also had it start on my other arm years after that, and had it injected right away. So it never developed into a true frozen shoulder, thank goodness.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2012 at 9:28PM
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steelskies, I'm happy you found a solution. :) Arum

    Bookmark   October 25, 2012 at 10:17PM
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If you catch it early enough steroid injections can work but it has to be before the adhesions start forming. Steroid injections themselves cause problems themselves and I avoided them, found out later that when they did the manipulations to break the adhesions, they actually gave me 2- 3 in the shoulder area. Although I have full range of motion now, I still get that same achy feeling if I overdue anything that has my arms raised above my head for any length of time. Window washing is one thing that really bothers me as is hanging Christmas lights or decorations.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2012 at 10:21PM
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