What Causes a Frozen Shoulder

A frozen shoulder is a blanket term for the condition of chronic stiffness, pain and limited movement in the shoulder, but specifically references a condition called “adhesive capsulitis”. There are a lot of medical causes of a frozen shoulder and also physical ones.

causes of frozen shoulderPhysical causes of a frozen shoulder

The shoulder is a very susceptible area on the body, so physical causes are common and can happen at any age:

Physical injury – This happens a lot to athletes who participate in high contact sports, such as football, hockey and lacrosse. A hard hit to that area can damage the intricate and delicate tendons in the shoulder. Additionally, twisting and spraining injuries can create a frozen shoulder, too. This can be from other sports that use the shoulder such as gold or tennis, or any common activity like yard work or heavy lifting.

Shoulder was immobilized for a long period of time – After an injury, you may have to rest your shoulder for weeks or even months at a time depending on the injury. During this process, the muscles and tendons tend to lock up. However, these are usually more mild cases of frozen shoulder. It is suggested you do exercises recommended by your physical therapist to avoid a frozen shoulder during recovery. With some exercises and stretching, a frozen shoulder caused from this should go away.

Medical causes of a frozen shoulder

Some causes are due to medical history and the demographic of the patient:

Ages 40-70 – As joints degenerate when you get older, you are more likely to develop orthopedic injuries when it’s harder for those muscles to support themselves. A frozen shoulder is very common for people ages 40-70. It can usually be treated with medication and physical therapy.

People who suffer from diabetes – Doctors aren’t entirely sure why, but a frozen shoulder seems to be more common for these patients. In fact, 10-20% of people with diabetes have a frozen shoulder according to the American Diabetes Association. One reason may be that excess glucose in diabetes patients affects the collagen in the shoulder, which is what helps hold ligaments together. A frozen shoulder may also develop after a patient suffers from a stroke.

If you think you suffer from a frozen shoulder, contact Dr. Samuel Koo in Seattle by calling (425) 823-400 and he can get you on the path to relief.

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