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Frozen shoulder

Posted by Julie on 7/15/01 at 04:34 (053230)

I asked a friend who has been coping with a frozen shoulder for some time to give me the lowdown on her own experience, for Nancy's benefit. I've sent it to Nancy but as there has been so much interest in the topic, I thought others might like to see what she said.

'The explanation I was given, which seemed to make sense in tying up with what I was feeling was as follows. For an unknown reason, the 'capsule' around the shoulder joint gradually fills with sticky gunge which makes everything adhere to everything else (the freezing stage), and this gets worse as more gunge is produced, so you tend to feel horrified as you get less and less movement as the months go by. When you move suddenly this tears apart in places, a bit like tearing off an elastoplast, so there's pain. But because the gunge is still there, it simply re-adheres. This means that there is no point in doing physiotherapy or much exercise because a) it hurts an awful lot as the gunge tears away and b) it sticks together again shortly afterwards. What happens is that when the gunge stops being produced, the body gradually absorbs it (the thawing stage) and you begin to get movement back as there is less and less resticking. What I would advise, and what the orthopaedic consultant said, was that it seems to make sense just to keep as much movement as you can without incurring pain. This at least moves the muscles, but doesn't tear the gunge away in the joint. I'm afraid it does take around 18 months to 2 years to get movement back, and I still haven't got full movement, there are still positions my arm just won't go into. He didn't advise cortisone injections or manipulation under anaesthetic, because if you are in the freezing stage, any respite is temporary, and with manipulation under anaesthetic, he said there was a real risk of damaging the joint or breaking the bone. Sorry I can't be more optimistic, but it really is just a case of sitting it out.'

What she says about exercise makes sense to me, as does the advice she was given about avoiding manipulation.

Re: Frozen shoulder

nancy s. on 7/15/01 at 07:59 (053232)

as you know, julie, this description fits completely with what i experience. i think this also explains why the mri was so painful: my shoulder was in a position that had one internal part slowly 'unsticking' (felt like ripping) from another -- and i couldn't move to stop it. again, thank you very much for this explanation that can make sense to a layperson! eighteen months to two years -- that is the hardest part to swallow. but . . . pf requires a lot of waiting, too, and i know i'm not alone.
nancy

Re: Frozen shoulder

Julie on 7/15/01 at 08:53 (053238)

Nancy, I think you'll find that you'll gradually take the measure of the frozen shoulder (shall we call it FS?!!) and come to know just how far you can move it during the freezing stage to keep it mobile without hurting yourself / Actually, from the sound of your recent posts, I think you're already well on the way there.

Remember: it's only the first, freezing, stage that's acutely painful. You've had it for two months (?) now so, say, four to go, after which it will slowly get less painful and you'll be able to have PT and get more actively involved in healing. And in the final stage, though it may still be somewhat painful, it won't be anything like what you're experiencing now. And you'll know and feel you're improving. You're not looking at extreme pain for 18 -24 months.

I'm still wondering _why_ it happens. Is it that some injury causes the joint capsule to become inflamed and swollen so that the synovial fluid can't flow and becomes thick and sticky? I must do some more research!

I still shudder when I think of you on that MRI trolley for 45 minutes.

Re: Frozen shoulder

nancy s. on 7/15/01 at 09:38 (053241)

thanks for that needed reminder, julie!
i haven't been able to find out why this happens, and i've read a lot. if you find anything, i'll be very glad to learn more.
i don't know that an injury, or at least a sudden injury, would be the cause. remember, it is slowly creeping into my left shoulder and arm too -- that one is about six weeks behind the other, i think. (if it takes the same course, there will be a rather lengthy overlap time where i'll have almost no movement in both arms and shoulders! that should be interesting!)
anyway, i don't recall a sudden injury, and i think i would, but i could be wrong.
a couple of websites offer the autoimmune theory. otherwise, most of them seem content to call the 'why' a mystery.
i appreciate your interest so much, and anything else you turn up will be much appreciated, especially since you wear not white socks but Red Sox!
xoxxo nancy

Re: Frozen shoulder

john h on 7/15/01 at 12:49 (053252)

nancy: there is at least one frozen shoulder forum:

http://www//venus.beseen.com/boardroom/p/16041/

Re: Frozen shoulder

Laurie R on 7/15/01 at 13:13 (053255)

Dear Julie ,This is so wonderful for you to take the time out to post this. I find it very interesting . Yes these boards are mostlt feet related ,but we do have other things going on besides out feet. I love to learn about all kinds of different things. Plus Nancy has helped so many people here just like you have. I'm so sure a lot of people will get something out of this ...

I remember my therapist telling me that frozen shoulder is one of the worse thing that can be wrong with you. He said it is soooooooooooo painful and it does take sometime to go away.

Nancy my heart really goes out to you . But , I know how strong you are and you will get though this ... That is why you are my mentor.... I only pick the best !!!!!!

You hang tough my sweet friend... If I find any boards for FS i sure will let you know....I hope you are having a wonderful Sunday ... You know we are here for you ,whether it is your feet or your shoulder...*~* ...

much love , Laurie R

Re: Frozen shoulder

john h on 7/15/01 at 16:07 (053267)

nancy: have they injected any dye into the shoulder area to help confirm frozen shoulder? there are a couple of things that can mimick frozen shoulder. julie: i notice that there is a Frozen Shoulder Clinic in London. I think they have a website.

Re: Frozen shoulder

john h on 7/15/01 at 16:32 (053277)

i am going to try the frozen shoulder forum url one more time. i have no problem getting to it but cannot seem to bring it up with a posted url:

http://venus.beseen.com/boardroom/p/16041/

Re: Frozen shoulder

Julie on 7/15/01 at 16:42 (053283)

And it looks like a good website too - worth a look, Nancy.

http://www.frozenshoulder.com/

It has a chat room - says it is most in use between 7pm and 1am GMT (Around midnight to 6am Maine time - but that shouldn't prove an obstacle to you, you night owl.

Re: Frozen shoulder

nancy s. on 7/16/01 at 00:35 (053308)

julie, john, and laurie: thanks so much for your support and suggestions. we went to old orchard beach this afternoon to wander around and eat and breathe the ocean air and had a really nice time. we didn't eat fried dough, get tattoos, have our palms read, or ride the Terminator, though.
tonight i looked up the sites you both posted -- both very helpful -- and did more searching and ended up reading about FS all night. it's now 1:30 a.m. so julie, i think you or anyone else has every right to tease me about night-owlness, though when all is well i enjoy the early morning too much to be a night owl.
one site did finally explain what goes on and causes the pain -- briefly, but it's the first one of hundreds i've read that did so: it described adhesive capsulitis (the medical term for frozen shoulder) as a condition 'that causes decreased movement in a joint. inflammation in a joint causes thrombin and fibrinogen to form a protein called fibrin. this protein causes clotting when in the blood, and forms a sticky substance when found in the joint. this causes the folds in the tissue to stick to each other and prevents full motion of the joint. shoulder pain is a common symptom of this disorder.'
anyway, i want to remind everyone in general: even if your feet aren't working well, don't forget to keep your shoulders and arms and everything else possible Moving! it IS known that lack of activity can atrophy the muscles in the back and shoulders that support the rotator cuff and thus be a cause of rotator cuff tendonitis -- and rotator cuff tendonitis is sometimes a precursor to frozen shoulder.
nancy

Re: Frozen shoulder

john h on 7/16/01 at 17:57 (053396)

nancy: you prompted me to go and lift weights today.

Re: Frozen shoulder

nancy s. on 7/16/01 at 21:19 (053415)

i'm very glad to hear that, john. save yourself!

Re: Frozen shoulder

john h on 7/17/01 at 09:48 (053471)

nancy i have already used up 8 of my 9 lives. while at the health club i took a sort of unoffical look at the socks people were wearing. about 98% of the girls had the very short white below the ankle socks. 1 or 2 girls were making fashion statements and wearing long socks pushed way down to the ankle like dancers sometimes do. all the guys had conventional ankle length white socks. those who wore sandals (some were birks) wore no socks and that included some weight lifters. no black or (red socks julie) were to be seen.

Re: Frozen shoulder

nancy s. on 7/15/01 at 07:59 (053232)

as you know, julie, this description fits completely with what i experience. i think this also explains why the mri was so painful: my shoulder was in a position that had one internal part slowly 'unsticking' (felt like ripping) from another -- and i couldn't move to stop it. again, thank you very much for this explanation that can make sense to a layperson! eighteen months to two years -- that is the hardest part to swallow. but . . . pf requires a lot of waiting, too, and i know i'm not alone.
nancy

Re: Frozen shoulder

Julie on 7/15/01 at 08:53 (053238)

Nancy, I think you'll find that you'll gradually take the measure of the frozen shoulder (shall we call it FS?!!) and come to know just how far you can move it during the freezing stage to keep it mobile without hurting yourself / Actually, from the sound of your recent posts, I think you're already well on the way there.

Remember: it's only the first, freezing, stage that's acutely painful. You've had it for two months (?) now so, say, four to go, after which it will slowly get less painful and you'll be able to have PT and get more actively involved in healing. And in the final stage, though it may still be somewhat painful, it won't be anything like what you're experiencing now. And you'll know and feel you're improving. You're not looking at extreme pain for 18 -24 months.

I'm still wondering _why_ it happens. Is it that some injury causes the joint capsule to become inflamed and swollen so that the synovial fluid can't flow and becomes thick and sticky? I must do some more research!

I still shudder when I think of you on that MRI trolley for 45 minutes.

Re: Frozen shoulder

nancy s. on 7/15/01 at 09:38 (053241)

thanks for that needed reminder, julie!
i haven't been able to find out why this happens, and i've read a lot. if you find anything, i'll be very glad to learn more.
i don't know that an injury, or at least a sudden injury, would be the cause. remember, it is slowly creeping into my left shoulder and arm too -- that one is about six weeks behind the other, i think. (if it takes the same course, there will be a rather lengthy overlap time where i'll have almost no movement in both arms and shoulders! that should be interesting!)
anyway, i don't recall a sudden injury, and i think i would, but i could be wrong.
a couple of websites offer the autoimmune theory. otherwise, most of them seem content to call the 'why' a mystery.
i appreciate your interest so much, and anything else you turn up will be much appreciated, especially since you wear not white socks but Red Sox!
xoxxo nancy

Re: Frozen shoulder

john h on 7/15/01 at 12:49 (053252)

nancy: there is at least one frozen shoulder forum:

http://www//venus.beseen.com/boardroom/p/16041/

Re: Frozen shoulder

Laurie R on 7/15/01 at 13:13 (053255)

Dear Julie ,This is so wonderful for you to take the time out to post this. I find it very interesting . Yes these boards are mostlt feet related ,but we do have other things going on besides out feet. I love to learn about all kinds of different things. Plus Nancy has helped so many people here just like you have. I'm so sure a lot of people will get something out of this ...

I remember my therapist telling me that frozen shoulder is one of the worse thing that can be wrong with you. He said it is soooooooooooo painful and it does take sometime to go away.

Nancy my heart really goes out to you . But , I know how strong you are and you will get though this ... That is why you are my mentor.... I only pick the best !!!!!!

You hang tough my sweet friend... If I find any boards for FS i sure will let you know....I hope you are having a wonderful Sunday ... You know we are here for you ,whether it is your feet or your shoulder...*~* ...

much love , Laurie R

Re: Frozen shoulder

john h on 7/15/01 at 16:07 (053267)

nancy: have they injected any dye into the shoulder area to help confirm frozen shoulder? there are a couple of things that can mimick frozen shoulder. julie: i notice that there is a Frozen Shoulder Clinic in London. I think they have a website.

Re: Frozen shoulder

john h on 7/15/01 at 16:32 (053277)

i am going to try the frozen shoulder forum url one more time. i have no problem getting to it but cannot seem to bring it up with a posted url:

http://venus.beseen.com/boardroom/p/16041/

Re: Frozen shoulder

Julie on 7/15/01 at 16:42 (053283)

And it looks like a good website too - worth a look, Nancy.

http://www.frozenshoulder.com/

It has a chat room - says it is most in use between 7pm and 1am GMT (Around midnight to 6am Maine time - but that shouldn't prove an obstacle to you, you night owl.

Re: Frozen shoulder

nancy s. on 7/16/01 at 00:35 (053308)

julie, john, and laurie: thanks so much for your support and suggestions. we went to old orchard beach this afternoon to wander around and eat and breathe the ocean air and had a really nice time. we didn't eat fried dough, get tattoos, have our palms read, or ride the Terminator, though.
tonight i looked up the sites you both posted -- both very helpful -- and did more searching and ended up reading about FS all night. it's now 1:30 a.m. so julie, i think you or anyone else has every right to tease me about night-owlness, though when all is well i enjoy the early morning too much to be a night owl.
one site did finally explain what goes on and causes the pain -- briefly, but it's the first one of hundreds i've read that did so: it described adhesive capsulitis (the medical term for frozen shoulder) as a condition 'that causes decreased movement in a joint. inflammation in a joint causes thrombin and fibrinogen to form a protein called fibrin. this protein causes clotting when in the blood, and forms a sticky substance when found in the joint. this causes the folds in the tissue to stick to each other and prevents full motion of the joint. shoulder pain is a common symptom of this disorder.'
anyway, i want to remind everyone in general: even if your feet aren't working well, don't forget to keep your shoulders and arms and everything else possible Moving! it IS known that lack of activity can atrophy the muscles in the back and shoulders that support the rotator cuff and thus be a cause of rotator cuff tendonitis -- and rotator cuff tendonitis is sometimes a precursor to frozen shoulder.
nancy

Re: Frozen shoulder

john h on 7/16/01 at 17:57 (053396)

nancy: you prompted me to go and lift weights today.

Re: Frozen shoulder

nancy s. on 7/16/01 at 21:19 (053415)

i'm very glad to hear that, john. save yourself!

Re: Frozen shoulder

john h on 7/17/01 at 09:48 (053471)

nancy i have already used up 8 of my 9 lives. while at the health club i took a sort of unoffical look at the socks people were wearing. about 98% of the girls had the very short white below the ankle socks. 1 or 2 girls were making fashion statements and wearing long socks pushed way down to the ankle like dancers sometimes do. all the guys had conventional ankle length white socks. those who wore sandals (some were birks) wore no socks and that included some weight lifters. no black or (red socks julie) were to be seen.