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6 Essentials to Aid your Frozen Shoulder Treatment

September 15, 2023

Frozen shoulder, also known as adhesive capsulitis, is a condition that can significantly impact shoulder mobility without undergoing frozen shoulder treatment. If you are one of the 5-20% of the population suffering from this condition and looking for frozen shoulder treatments, it is important to see the big picture in your journey toward regained shoulder mobility.

In this comprehensive guide, we'll delve into the essential aspects you need to remember before and after your frozen shoulder treatment.

If you're dealing with the discomfort and reduced mobility associated with frozen shoulder, you've likely explored various frozen shoulder treatment options. One of these options includes a highly effective and minimally invasive procedure: Shoulder Arthroscopy.

Shoulder arthroscopy provides a precise and targeted approach to treating frozen shoulder, offering pain relief and restoring its mobility. So, if you want to learn more about this minimally-invasive surgery, this guide will dive deep into shoulder arthroscopy: its benefits, what to keep in mind in preparing for your surgery, and recovering from this effective frozen shoulder treatment.

What is shoulder arthroscopy and how does it work?

If you are experiencing persisting indications of shoulder injury, surgery is an option. However, it is generally advised to wait about a year of trying non-invasive frozen shoulder treatments before resorting to surgery since incisions are almost always avoided when possible.

Fortunately, surgery as a frozen shoulder treatment is typically performed as an outpatient procedure—meaning,  a patient can go home within 24 hours after the treatment. Thanks to its minimal invasiveness, this frozen shoulder treatment is generally recommended for long-term patients due to its excellent results.

Shoulder arthroscopy and tools during the surgery

So, what happens during shoulder arthroscopy? During this procedure, the surgeon makes small incisions in your shoulder to remove scar tissue and adjust ligaments, restricting movement. The primary goal of this frozen shoulder treatment is to release the tight and inflamed capsule around the shoulder joint, allowing for better shoulder mobility.

This is done using a small tool called an arthroscope, equipped with a camera and light source, inserted through tiny shoulder incisions. The camera sends real-time images to a monitor, giving the surgeon a precise view of the shoulder joint.

Since this frozen shoulder treatment is minimally invasive, it often leads to a quicker recovery and potentially higher success rates by minimizing damage to the surrounding connective tissue. Smaller surgical instruments are used, and the ability to see the joint on a video monitor allows for prompt and accurate diagnosis and repair of any damaged joint tissue. This procedure ultimately aims to unlock your frozen shoulder and regain its full range of mobility.

What should I prepare before my shoulder arthroscopy?

When it comes to ensuring your upcoming frozen shoulder treatment goes smoothly, it goes without saying that following your physicians’ advice is paramount. But aside from your shoulder pain doctor’s advice, here are some general reminders before your frozen shoulder treatment:

  1. Fasting before your frozen shoulder treatment

    To avoid potential surgical risks, it is recommended to abstain from eating or drinking during a designated timeframe before your scheduled surgery. Typically, this fasting period can range from 8 to 12 hours prior to your treatment, depending on your doctor’s discretion.

    Remember, consuming food or beverages immediately before your frozen shoulder treatment can result in anesthetic complications during the treatment. This is why fasting is recommended, which involves any meal, snacks, sweets, and all forms of beverages such as water, tea, coffee, or alcohol.

    In the days and weeks leading up to your frozen shoulder treatment, it is also recommended to sustain a moderate diet and adequate hydration so that your body stays healthy and ready for your upcoming frozen shoulder treatment.

  2. Medication management to avoid complications

    Before your frozen shoulder treatment, there are certain medications that should be temporarily discontinued days prior. This is done to prevent excessive bleeding or any conflict with the anesthesia.

    Remember to be transparent when informing your physician about your current medication. Make sure to notify them about the drugs and even dietary supplements you are currently taking so they can advise you accordingly.

    Your physician will inform you if you need to pause any of these medications before your frozen shoulder treatment. They will also provide you with a suitable timeline of how long you will need to pause these drugs. Depending on the medication and your individual medical history, this timeline can range from 24 hours to a full week before your frozen shoulder treatment.

Recovering and rehabilitating post-surgery

Although shoulder arthroscopy is minimally invasive, your shoulder joint still needs weeks to months to heal completely. After your frozen shoulder treatment, it is normal to experience some pain and swelling for at least several weeks.

This is where a rehabilitation plan comes in. It includes gentle exercise and physical therapy, which ultimately aim to increase your shoulder movement and strength over time. Based on your lifestyle and frozen shoulder treatment, your healthcare provider will give you a rehabilitation plan specific to you.

Sling is used when recovering from frozen shoulder treatment

Here is what to expect after your frozen shoulder treatment:

  1. Immediate Post-Op Period

    Hours after shoulder arthroscopy, patients are typically under medical supervision until the effects of anesthesia wear off. It is normal to experience some grogginess and mild discomfort during this time, which is why you will be given a rehabilitation plan for pain management, recovery monitoring, and overall shoulder health recuperation.

  2. Home Recovery

    To ensure minimal stress on your recovering shoulder, it is recommended to establish a support system in your home. Due to the initial discomfort post-surgery, it is likely you will need assistance with basic everyday tasks, such as dressing or showering, and even simple household chores, such as cooking.

    Keep this in mind and plan ahead before locking in your surgery appointment. This smooth transition to home care plays a big role in the success of your frozen shoulder treatment.

  3. Pain Management

    Just like any surgery, pain and discomfort are common in the initial days or weeks after your frozen shoulder treatment. To counter this, your surgeon will prescribe pain medications to help control this. It is important to take these medications as prescribed so you can avoid excessive pain and discomfort in your rehabilitation.

    Aside from medication, your surgeon might also advise cold compress as well as elevation. Ice can help relieve some pain and swelling while sleeping propped up in a chair or bed for a few days can minimize the swelling. Your surgeon may also recommend a sling for you to avoid overexerting your recovering shoulder.

  4. Gradual Return to your Routine

    Shoulder recovery definitely does not happen overnight, so heed your physician’s guidance on when it is safe to return to your regular routine. Just note that the transition can depend on several factors, such as your job, lifestyle, routine, or even your hobbies.

With all these precautions in mind, it is easy to be overwhelmed with your shoulder’s recovery process. However, remember that the weeks of recovery can last you long-term relief from stiff and immobile shoulder, letting you experience pain-free everyday activities.

Caring for your recovered shoulder

While prevention is often deemed the best cure, the importance of follow-up care is just as crucial to keeping your shoulders healthy. After your frozen shoulder treatment, your surgeon will schedule follow-up appointments to monitor your progress. These check-ups are where your surgeon can monitor your healing progress, as well as assess if there are necessary adjustments to your treatment and rehabilitation plan.

A frozen shoulder treatment is successful with follow-up appointments

Bear in mind that the road to recovery after shoulder arthroscopy is gradual. Avoid straining your shoulder, and be patient during the healing process. The weeks of recovery may seem like a long time now, but you will see how taking your time to slow down is worth all the pain-free days in the future.

With diligent medical care, supervision, and proper maintenance, your frozen shoulder treatment has the potential to restore your shoulder to its full functionality. Remember to always consult with and adhere to your doctor's guidance for a smooth and successful recovery journey.

© 2024, John Hibbitts, M.D. All Rights Reserved.