Here we go again...

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I had my first frozen shoulder 2 years ago and have posted (and got some great advice) on here.  Like many of us first time round, I didn't know what it was and assumed it was some sort of strain that might go away on it's own and so didn't seek help until it was very painful and frozen and I was hardly getting any sleep. The GP offered painkillers and a 3 month waiting list for physio, which I was able to shortcut as my husband has BUPA,  The phsyio didn't help and the second guy I saw suggested hydrodilatation, which I had done in December 2015 - I documented my progress with that on here:

Part of the reason for having treatment was that I'd had twinges in the other (left) shoulder and didn't want to end up with two frozen shoulders.  Those twinges went away and my right shoulder gradually got back to normal.  Since then, I've had a couple more times when I started to get twinges in my left shoulder and at at least once, I was convinced that I was starting with a second frozen shoulder - but each time, it seemed to go away after a few weeks, as though my body was fighting it off.  The initial aches and pains were identical to those at the start of my first frozen shoulder and I've not idea why they started and went away - maybe my body was more able to fight it, since I restarted my HRT but I can't be sure.  Anyone else had false starts like that?

About 3 months ago, the twinges started again.  I didn't do anything, as I hoped that again, they might go away - but this time they haven't.  I haven't lost much, if any, movement as yet but it's starting to get a bit painful to fasten my bra, put up my hair etc.  I've also had a few of the more painful surges when reaching out for something or knocking or jerking my arm.  I could probably cope during the day but I can no longer sleep on that side (my favoured sleeping side) and it's starting to ache at night, both of which are starting to effect my sleep.

Last time, my consultant told me to come back sooner, rather than later, should it happen again - so I've made an appointment to see him.  I'm hoping that early treatment will stop me having to go through the months of more extreme pain I experienced last time but will have to see what he says next week.  I'll let you know how I get on this time.

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6 Replies

  • Posted

    Hi Maria. Sorry to hear ur second shoulder is freezing.

    My stor has some similarities to yours. I suffered for 7 months (I knew it was frozen by then, I'd been going to a Physio who massaged to relax all the other muscles - this was a small help). My Physio wrongly told me there was no help for frozen shoulder in NZ, unless you could afford private surgery.

    Eventually I chatted to a retired doctor who told me to see my GP, who arranged a cortisone shot. This helped me so much, no pain since January, but still very frozen.

    My other shoulder is having some twinges, which I hope don't take hold. I'm doing everything I can to stop or reduce it-

    - I've started swimming, hoping that will break the adhesions before they take hold. Is this possible? My frozen arm just does what it can under water, hoping more movement and some stretching will help

    - I read somewhere to drink 2 litres of water per day, I'm not keen on water but am drinking loads.

    - I read somewhere that collagen might help, this could have been from someone selling it, but I've bought some -NZ$90/month

    I haven't swam this week, and my unfrozen shoulder has had more twinges. Could be a coincidence.

    I hope yours gets sorted soon.

  • Posted

    I went they the normal stages with my first frozen shoulder and decided to wait it out. I was thawed at the 12 month mark by doing nothing. During that time I had twinges in other side but have never gotten it again yet. My first I had the very painful stage the freezing stage the frozen stage and the thawing stage. Each stage was a few months long and as I mention I was completely thawed by 14 months or so. At least 90% at 12 months. Good Luck
  • Posted

    Hi Maria.  So sorry that you are dealing with frozen shoulder for a second time.  I too am dealing with my second bout of frozen shoulder, which began about 4 months ago.  I am still in the painful stage and really have a lot of trouble sleeping.  At this point, I am extremely unhappy with my ortho doctor.  I saw him (NP, not even the doctor) back in April to go over the results of my MRI, at which time he told me I had frozen shoulder.  Since I had it before, I already knew what I was dealing with.  He prescribed Ultram and physical therapy.  The Ultram did nothing for me so I called to see if I could get something stronger/better.  I was told that since this was a long term disease that he couldn't give me anything else for fear of addiction.  The pain is unbearable!  I have no follow-up appointments scheduled with the nurse practitioner.  I feel as though I have been abandoned by him.

    My boyfriend had knee surgery a week ago, and while I was in pre-op with him, his ortho doctor came in.  My boyfriend told him that I was dealing with a frozen shoulder.  He asked me how long I had it and I replied that I was going into my 4th month.  He said that he does capsular release surgery for his patients at that point.  The thought of him forcing my arm in different directions to break up the scar tissue scares me to death, but if it can free me from the pain, I would be willing to try it.  I am doing physical therapy and each time I go, I seem to have a little bit of improvement in my range of motion.  I'm not sure if I should switch doctors and give this guy a chance or just continue with the physical therapy and see what happens.

    Overall, how would you rate your success for your surgery on your first frozen shoulder?  How long did it take to get your range of motion back?

    • Posted

      I think you are mixing up capsular release with MUA (manipulation under anaesthetic).  As far as I understand it, capsular release is where they operate with keyhole surgery to release the tight capsule. Plenty on here have had either of these procedures and claim it works for them but both require a general anaesthetic and time to recover from the operation.  Some people have found these worthwhile but I personally wouldn't have considered surgery, though I wouldn't want to put you off if you feel it would be an option for you.

      What I had done was hydrodilatation - the shoulder joint is injected with a mixture of saline, cortisone and local anaesthetic under a certain amount of pressure in order to try to release the capsule.  It is done as an out patient procedure and takes only about 15 minutes.  Some people get their movement back straight away but for me it took a couple of months to get most of it back and the rest, gradually over time.  I was however pain free after 2 days, which I rate as a big success for me.

  • Posted

    Well, I saw the consultant (same one as last time) earlier today.  He moved my arm about and did an ultrasound scan and declared that it was indeed a second frozen shoulder.  He said I was right to come to see him sooner, rather than later and agreed that another hydrodilatation was the way to go and may well stop it before it gets really bad this time.  As I'm going through BUPA (courtesy of my hubby's employer) I should be able to have the procedure done in the next week or so.  I'll report back on the progress again this time, so fingers crossed!  Thanks goodness this happened before my hubby retires, as we won't be able to afford private health cover then!

    • Posted

      I had the hydrodilatation this morning and saw the same doctor who did it last time.  As with the previous one, it was a bit uncomfortable but not especially painful.  He said he got about 35ml of saline in there - not sure what difference this makes and he did seem to think some adhesions popped out.  I'm expecting a bit of aching, once the local anaesthetic wears off but hopefully, this won't last more than a day or two - that's what happened last time, anyway.  He also said that having it done relatively early should halt the progress - I really hope that this is the case.  

      I did ask how come some people find the procedure very painful and others not.  He said that apart from obvious differences between people, one thing that can make a big difference is where the needle is injected.  He said that some put the needle in through the front of the shoulder (especially when it is guided under x-ray) he said thay stopped doing this some time ago and they inject at the back of the shoulder which is much less painful for most people.  Mine was guided using ultrasound.

      I have physio booked for next Monday but as I haven't lost as much movement as last time, I'm hoping I won't need much. Will report back on my progress - fingers crossed it has worked.


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