I was told that I have frozen shoulder. It’s painful and restricting. What can I do for it, and what kind of specialist should I see for effective treatment?
—Roseanna G., Atlanta
Frozen shoulder syndrome, or adhesive capsulitis, is a condition in which connective tissue surrounding your shoulder joint (the capsule) thickens and adheres to adjacent structures, making the shoulder so tight that moving it causes pain. An orthopedic doctor who has handled many cases of FSS is your best bet for diagnosis and treatment.
FSS progresses through three stages. No. 1 is called “freezing.” Over six weeks to nine months, pain worsens and motion becomes restricted. The second stage, “frozen,” lasts four to six months; though pain may lessen, it can become even more difficult to use your shoulder or arm. The last stage, “thawing,” is a return to normal or near-normal function, which takes from six to 24 months.
FSS affects women twice as often as men, usually between the ages of 40 and 60. And while around 2 percent to 5 percent of the population contends with FSS, more than 13 percent of folks with diabetes have the condition. Although FSS is also associated with thyroid and heart disease, an accident or sports injury and some medications, there’s usually no obvious cause.
Treatment options: 90 percent of the time, you can improve substantially with physical therapy, using pain-relieving NSAIDs or taking a course of prednisone. There also are injections that can break up adhesions and restore motion.
Surgery may involve manipulation that stretches or tears the capsule and adhesions, restoring movement, or shoulder arthroscopy, in which the surgeon cuts through the tight areas of the joint capsule.
We are sorry you have to contend with the discomfort of FSS, but with comprehensive treatment, you should feel better sooner rather than later.
I heard about doctors who set up a fresh-food pharmacy and saw a 100 percent improvement in the health of patients who were formally prescribed a healthier diet. Can you prescribe food as medicine?
—Frank G., Lancaster, Pennsylvania
There’s no question about it, Frank: When doctors actually write out a prescription for a healthy diet, it does change how people eat and improves their health.
One example is the Fresh Food Pharmacy, started by Dr. Andrea Feinberg, medical director for health and wellness at Geisinger Health System in Pennsylvania. Sixty customer/patients are now formally prescribed a healthier diet and shop for free veggies at the hospital’s well-stocked farm-acy. “It’s over-the-top successful,” said Dr. Feinberg. “It works for every single patient. We’re talking about reversing diabetes … and moving people from a ‘sick’ to ‘healthy’ category.”
It also saves money. The improved diets trigger a decrease in diabetes patients’ A1C of about 3 percent, said Dr. Feinberg, adding up to health care savings of $24,000 per person per year.
Clearly, healthful food decreases the onslaught of chronic disease. So if you need help controlling your diabetes, blood pressure or weight, for example, talk to your doc about getting a prescription for a nutritious diet. But don’t wait. Start today with your own Rx for better health.
How? Say bye-bye to french fries. A new study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that eating french fries doubles your risk of premature death compared with people who eat mashed or baked spuds.
And attain a much younger RealAge by enjoying seven to nine servings of fresh fruit and veggies daily, and eliminating the Five Food Felons (trans and most sat fats, added sugars and syrups, and refined grains) from your plate.
Then talk to your doc. For help finding physicians in your area who will prescribe food as medicine, check out www.wholesomewave.org/network. They work with 1,400-plus farmers markets, grocery and corner stores, farm stands, CSAs, hospitals, clinics and more.
Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of “The Dr. Oz Show,” and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Wellness Officer and Chair of the Wellness Institute at the Cleveland Clinic. Email your health and wellness questions to Dr. Oz and Dr. Roizen at email@example.com.