Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Adhesive Capsulitis, how it has affected me...

This is going to be a slightly different type of blog entry. More of an informational type of blog than my usual ramblings and silly stories.
There are many types of 'adhesive capsulitis', which is also commonly known as 'frozen shoulder'. This condition is described as follows:

" Description

Frozen shoulder (adhesive capsulitis) is a disorder characterized by pain and loss of motion or stiffness in the shoulder. It affects about two percent of the general population. It is more common in women between the ages of 40 years to 70 years old. The causes of frozen shoulder are not fully understood. The process involves thickening and contracture of the capsule surrounding the shoulder joint. A doctor can diagnose frozen shoulder based on the history of the patient's symptoms and physical examination. X-rays or MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) studies are sometimes used to rule out other causes of shoulder stiffness and pain, such as rotator cuff tear.

Risk Factors/Prevention

Frozen shoulder occurs much more commonly in individuals with diabetes, affecting 10 percent to 20 percent of these individuals. Other medical problems associated with increased risk of frozen shoulder include: hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, Parkinson's disease, and cardiac disease or surgery. Frozen shoulder can develop after a shoulder is injured or immobilized for a period of time. Attempts to prevent frozen shoulder include early motion of the shoulder after it has been injured." Retrieved from the website: http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/fact/thr_report.cfm?Thread_ID=162&topcategory

American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons


This is the second time that I've gone through this in the period of about 2 years. The first shoulder took over 9 months of bouncing from one doctor to another. I had surgery one year ago today on the left side. The procedure was arthroscopic surgery to cut away the adhesions in the shoulder joint. I was able to watch Dr. Lawrence of Viroqua do this procedure. I received a 'nerve block' I watched the procedure on a 'TV' monitor. Dr. Lawrence dictates and discusses the procedure as he does it. It is recorded and after surgery you even get a recording and photos of the procedure.

The nerve block numbs the whole arm and is an excellent procedure for short surgeries, however if the surgery starts to last longer than anticipated, there can be pain. I'm not writing this to scare anyone, just a fact. The nerve block did begin to wear thin towards the end of my surgery...but considering that I was relaxed [chemically induced]..and the pain that I was encountering from the 'frozen shoulder' in the first place, hurt less than the last portion of the surgery and 'the closing of the surgerical holes'. Which by the way were super glued shut.

Very cool article here on Dr. Jeffrey Lawrence. I recommend reading it.

Now, how it has affected my personal life. In short, it has really made the most simple things difficult. Imagine not being able to use the affected arm to pull up your pants...[yeah more than you needed to know], brush your teeth. Cut a steak, pour coffee, put on your own clothes, and the inability to comb your hair.

In my case? I cannot saddle my own animals to ride. I can only ride at a walk as any jarring produces extreme pain. The pain is there 24/7, relentless...sometimes relieved by Ultram, sometimes not.

Sleeping is another issue, sleeping restfully is not possible. A positive attitude starts to fail with these complications. For me, I feel like I am in a personal battle against something I cannot touch or put cause to.

Enough for today. More tomorrow, if you can stand it.

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