frozen shoulder?

by beth
(old town florida usa)

I had a car accident in January this year; I broke my collar bone. I was put into a sling for 9 weeks to try to get it to heal on its own; it did not, so I had surgery. A plate and 6 screws, and the bone healed nicely.

After 12 weeks total in a sling my elbow and shoulder were locked. I went to pt and ot and the elbow is much better, but the shoulder is not. I cannot move it, and the pain is awful, and sleep impossible; I can't dress myself, wear a bra, or hold my grandchild.

I stopped going to ortho because it wasn't helping and was costing a fortune. I am a truck driver; I can't drive a truck like this. Hell, I can't even go to the bathroom with out help. What do I do?

Hello Beth,
A frozen shoulder is probably the most painful condition faced at the chiropractic coalface; they hurt, and hurt a lot. I'm only telling you what you already know, but to confirm you're not being a baby.

First, it needs to be established whether your neck was injured at the time of the accident. If there is nerve irritation, that needs to be attended to.

Whenever there's enough force to break a bone, damage to the joints at either end are likely. The AC joint is almost always involved in a frozen shoulder.

There's a possibility that there are other missed fractures; I'd start by asking the orthopedist who plated your shoulder for an opinion. You've probably already done that.

Then I would start the exercises you'll find at our frozen shoulder page; be very gentle, careful, and do them slowly. Some discomfort is inevitable, in fact good, but avoid frank pain.

Personally I love treating frozen shoulders, but I don't speak for all my colleagues; I'd start asking around, friends and family, which chiropractors treat shoulders. And then be patient. The acute pain will be much less within 4-8 weeks, but the stiffness and final healing can take up to a year; you may not regain full range of motion, but if it doesn't hurt, you can live with that.

You are looking for less pain; your chiropractor will be looking to restore the movement. Then the pain will get less.

Good luck; this is a nasty condition.

Dr B

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