LEGAL GUIDE
Written by attorney James Mitchell Hoffmann | Jun 14, 2013

Workers’ Comp Injuries - Frozen Shoulder

In addition to being painful, shoulder injuries can be debilitating. Frozen shoulder is an extremely painful condition that develops very often in people who are recovering from another injury. Frozen shoulder, also known as adhesive capsulitis, and is usually accompanied by the presence of stiffness and pain in the shoulder joint. Frozen shoulders can accompany recovery from other conditions or procedures that impact your shoulder mobility. For instance, a stroke or a mastectomy will limit arm mobility and this can cause frozen shoulder to develop. But frozen shoulder can develop as the result of a trauma as well, such as a lifting injury.

What is frozen shoulder?

Frozen shoulder occurs when the ligaments, tendons, and bones that are encased in a capsule of connective tissue, become immobilized when the capsule thickens. Joint movement is restricted when tightening occurs.

People who find themselves with a frozen shoulder after a workplace incident may be in for a long recovery process. The process of treating a frozen shoulder generally takes up to two years. Usually shoulder pain will gradually develop before becoming increasingly severe as time goes on. Pain and mobility will hopefully then resolve with treatment and physical therapy over the course of the next 12-24 months.

Treatment

There are three stages that frozen shoulder patients typically go through: the pain stage, the frozen stage, and fianlly the thawing stage. The development of the condition happens fairly slowly, with each stage lasting for several months.

Frozen shoulder treatment will involve stretching and physical therapy. In some cases, doctors will recommend injecting corticosteroids or other numbing medications directly into the joint. This can help to alleviate some of the pain and regain some of the previous mobility. In rare cases, doctors may need to perform surgery on the joint in order to loosen the joint capsule and free up movement.

Because the healing period can take so long, many people are unable to return to their previous jobs or need to find a new position.

Risk factors

Adults over 40 and women are more susceptible to developing frozen shoulder, as are those who experience injuries or procedures that leave them with limited mobility for extended periods of time. But doctors are not certain about other risk factors that make individuals more likely to develop the condition.

St Louis Workers’ compensation attorneys

Once you begin noticing pain you should notify your employer as soon as possible. They can then begin the paperwork of letting the insurance company know and can advise you on seek medical treatment in compliance with the policy. The insurance company ultimately decides whether or not to pay for medical treatment. Because insurance companies can deny benefits, it may be in your best interests to seek the expert legal advice of a workers’ compensation attorney in your area. Employees are entitled to medical expenses and wage loss benefits when a workplace injury occurs.

If your claim is denied because the insurance company blames your injury on a preexisting condition, arthritis, or maintains that the injury happened outside of work, you should contact a workers’ compensation attorney who can help you to prove your injury entitles you to workers’ comp and can help you get the benefits you deserve.

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