Frozen shoulder (adhesive capsulitis) new treatment ...
... at least, new to me. This condition has been discussed many times, on different GW forums, but I'm sure there are still women (and men, to a lesser extent) who will not know about the condition from which they are suffering.
I've had it twice--once in each shoulder--several years apart. The second bout I self-diagnosed early on, but I endured months of misery with the first frozen shoulder, before actually going to the doctor, thinking that like tendonitis, all I needed was to stop using my shoulder, and let it rest. And then I endured a few more weeks of misery because the incident that made me realize I could no longer deal with the pain--a fall--happened on a day when my physician didn't have office hours, so I went to the local urgent care clinic. The young doctor there told me to wear a sling to immobilize the arm, the worst advice ever, but also told me to see my regular doctor. It didn't get better, so I made an appointment with my physician. As soon as I described my pain, and he checked to make sure it wasn't the rotator cuff, he told me I had adhesive capsulitis, or frozen shoulder. Somewhere in the GW archives, there's a thread where I describe my treatment, and PT regimen, but the point of this thread is the following article:
I don't necessarily agree that it's a feminist issue, although sufferers are usually peri/post menopausal women. Both my father (a diabetic and former construction/heavy equipment operator), and my brother (construction/heavy equipment operator and probable future diabetic), have had frozen shoulders. I'm posting the link because the article very accurately describes the pain, and stages, of the condition, and mentions a saline treatment, along with cortisone injections.
My doctor gave me one cortisone injection with each bout of adhesive capsulitis, but, in my extensive research, I don't recall reading anything about the saline injections when I had my first one (Jan 2012). For those of you who might suffer a frozen shoulder, or who might again suffer one, and who will be searching the 'net, I hope this information will help. If you think you have a frozen shoulder, go to the doctor immediately--do not put it off.
Some excerpts from the linked article:
I ... feel a twinge of pain in my right shoulder. I cannot recall an injury, so I move onward ... and hope the pain will go away.
As the days pass, my right arm grows stiffer and weaker. I have to use my left arm to give my right arm a leg up, so to speak. By the time we get home ... the pain is a steady drone. No more yoga for me, but like busy women everywhere, I soldier on, working and organizing family life. Within a month, I am in sleepless, excruciating pain, edging closer to nine on the sad-face scale ... this is relentless — 24-7. ... I can barely hold a fork. I have to sign checks using my left hand to support my right.
(Dr.) Vad explains four distinct stages of the disease, each with an optimal treatment solution. His mantra is early diagnosis, but unfortunately, that doesn’t always happen. Because the disease will eventually resolve itself, patients are often still told to “wait it out,” resulting in many months or even years of needless suffering.
In Stage 1, which is where I was when I reached for a coffee cup and winced, a sonogram-guided cortisone injection into the shoulder joint can eliminate the pain and quickly restore mobility.
By now, I was in Stage 2, with severe pain and stiffness. Most doctors will advise arthroscopic surgery for this stage, which is invasive and expensive and can result in chronic pain… and a refrozen shoulder.
In Stage 3, the shoulder is frozen completely stiff and pain subsides. For this stage, arthroscopic surgery is the only treatment option.
Stage 4 is described as the “thawing” period.
Vad prefers to treat my Stage 2 case with a brief, inexpensive procedure called capsule distension. After a local anesthetic is administered, the shoulder joint is injected with saline to flush out and expand the joint, which has shrunk. ... After the saline, in goes some cortisone. Nice. Fifteen minutes, no incision, done.
Following my successful capsule distension, I worked with a physical therapist to regain strength and mobility.
Until a miracle pill comes along that will zap adhesive capsulitis after Stage 1, Vad hopes to create an environment where women in midlife are more informed and empowered. “With early intervention, we can save you months or years of suffering,” he says, restating his mantra. “If you have pain in your shoulder and there was no trauma and you are beginning to lose range of motion, you should get to a doctor immediately. If a few weeks of physical therapy do not bring good results, you should demand treatment for adhesive capsulitis. If you feel you might have a frozen shoulder, don’t sit and wait — take charge.”