Frozen Shoulder and Diabetes

Would you believe when I was going through articles in the Diabetes Forecast I did run into a frozen shoulder? Well into the article at least and not the actual shoulder. LOL. So, why do I like to write about this? I have the feeling that not too many know about the relation of diabetes and the shoulder! Some articles blame high blood sugar for the start of a bad shoulder. Others state that about 20% of diabetics will experience a frozen shoulder. Frozen shoulder or adhesive capsulitis can disable you for a long time. Permanenet loss of as much as 50% of shoulder mobility can occur among people with diabetes. Particularly in those who don’t keep good control of their sugars.

Many diabetics will be stuck with a painful shoulder permanently and for others it says that it may take up to 17 months and even two years to find improvement. I never paid much attention to this, probable would if I got the shoulder pain… The articles are too long to give you a full report but if you go to Google and write in “Diabetes and frozen shoulder” you will be amazed how much info there is on this subject.

Greeting from JB.

Wow JB! A lot of info from the Google search. I have been dealing with shoulder pain for a while and nobody has been able to pinpoint the exact problem. It started out as an overuse injury and has varied in severity for some time. Thanks for posting this and making me think more about this possibility. To the Dr.'s more informed I will go!

I’ve had two frozen shoulders, one in each shoulder. The first took a year for a doc to diagnose. It was a chiropracter and finally after 3 months of heat and massage it worked itself out. The second I needed to have surgery for. I went into the Hospital for Special surgery and when it was over I woke up with my arm over my head being held up in traction. Then it took months of exercises to feel pretty normal. I have 98% range in both arms, but my doc said it could recur in 15 years. Like childbirth, I don’t remember the pain, but somehow I know I would not like to see it show up again.

Wow, it seems to be common knowledge in my area. I’ve talked to a few people who’ve delt with it. I had shoulder surgery and manipulation of the shoulder because of several problems, one being frozen shoulder. My BG control has always been good. HBA1C’s on the 6’s, some 7’s. My recovery has gone well. I still do not have full range of motion but I ave much more range of motion than I did prior to the surgery.
I know that if someone pulls or tears a muscle…or has some type of pain the their shoulder & then babies that shoulder…it can lead to frozen shoulder. Basically, the more you move it/use it, the better. Avoid having it freeze up on you because it gets worse over time. And frozen shoulder is very common for diabetics (as if we didn’t have enough to worry about).
Great post JB, it will be informative for some who aren’t aware of it.

ive had a sore left shoulder on and off for 20 years. never thought for a moment that it could be related to diabetes as ive only had it since july.

Two years ago I “popped” something in my shoulder while parking my car. That little maneuver resulted in eighteen months of hell.

I had 48 hours of pain so severe that I didn’t sleep at all – not so much as five minutes in two nights. When I finally got to see an orthopedist, he had to give me some super-strong pain medication to knock me out enough that I could sleep. He also gave me a shot into the shoulder capsule of a strong pain medication mixed with a steroid. My base-line blood glucose DOUBLED and it lasted for weeks (a month?) as the steroid slowly was absorbed by my system.

Fast forward through weeks of agony, being barely able to wash and dress myself (lots of weeping in the shower, lots of cursing and weeping as I accomplished the impossible, like putting on a bra or arranging my hair with one hand), being barely able to sleep, finding even going for a walk so painful that I lost all my hard-won aerobic fitness, gaining a bunch of weight from the steroids and the lack of exercise, begging my doctor to send me to physical therapy and him saying no over and over because he was afraid they’d injure me further, having three different diagnosis (No, you didn’t tear your rotator cuff. Yes you clearly tore your rotator cuff. No, you didn’t tear your rotator cuff.) until finally finding a senior orthopedist who said, “Didn’t anyone tell you? You’re a diabetic female. You’re seven times more likely than the average person to get a frozen shoulder. You probably briefly dislocated your shoulder and then developed a frozen shoulder as a result of the pain, high blood glucose, slow healing and not using your arm. Go see this one physical therapist; he will tell you really bad jokes to distract you while he temporarily makes your shoulder hurt like hell, but when he’s done, you’ll have your mobility back.”

After a dozen sessions with “Jack” and hours of at-home exercises, physical therapy worked and I have 95 percent of the use of my arm back. If not for this physical therapist (and his bad jokes) I wouldn’t have been able to laugh through my tears until we got it moving again. I’ve passed gallstones and had surgery; the pain of the frozen shoulder was 10X worse than that.

Now I swear by aggressive physical therapy. Yes, it hurts. But if you want to regain the use of your arm, that’s what it takes. Pushing right to the edge of what you can stand (in an intelligent and controlled way) and slowly, slowly, slowly breaking up the frozen stuff and getting back the ability to control the glide of your shoulder under and through the impinged places.