Diabetes and Frozen Shoulder: Understanding the Connection

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Diabetes, a common metabolic disorder affecting millions globally, is linked to a condition called frozen shoulder or adhesive capsulitis. Elevated blood sugar levels affect the body’s glucose processing and affect various organs and tissues. Diabetes’s influence on the musculoskeletal system often extends beyond known complications, leading to conditions like frozen shoulder.

Understanding the mechanism and connection

Diabetes increases the risk of developing a frozen shoulder due to chronic inflammation, affecting the shoulder’s capsule, and causing stiffness and restricted movement. It also alters collagen metabolism, leading to adhesions and scar tissue within the shoulder joint. Poorly managed blood sugar levels can worsen existing shoulder problems and delay recovery from a frozen shoulder. Diabetes can cause a frozen shoulder due to various mechanisms. Elevated glucose levels cause glycation, which affects the structure and function of proteins, affecting the collagen in the shoulder joint. This leads to stiffness and reduced flexibility. Diabetes also triggers inflammatory responses, exacerbating inflammation and stiffness. Vascular changes can further complicate the condition’s progression and healing process.

Ayurveda’s View on Frozen Shoulder and Diabetes Connection

Frozen shoulder – diabetes mellitus is a condition correlated with Avabahuka in Ayurveda and is considered a Kapha-related condition. Symptoms include restriction of movement and dull to nominal pain. The major features of a frozen shoulder are symptoms of Margavaranajanya Avabahuka (Kaphaavruta Vata), including Soola, Sthambha, and Bahupraspanditahara. Treatment aims to reduce Kapha and Vata, using Kaphahara and Vata-focused treatments like Rooksha and Ushna. Studies show that modern management approaches suggest that there is no single effective treatment for frozen shoulder, and a multidisciplinary approach leads to better clinical outcomes.

Management and Treatment

Understanding this correlation holds significance in managing both diabetes and frozen shoulder:

  • Optimal Diabetes Control: Managing blood sugar levels effectively can potentially mitigate the risk of developing a frozen shoulder and aid in the treatment process.
  • Early Intervention: Prompt recognition and treatment of frozen shoulder symptoms in individuals with diabetes can prevent complications and expedite recovery.
  • Comprehensive Care: A multidisciplinary approach involving healthcare professionals specializing in diabetes management and musculoskeletal health is pivotal for effective treatment.
  • Panchakarma: External therapies that restore movement and reduce pain such as Snehana, Swedana, rookshana, Mrudushodhana, etc are useful and to be performed under an Ayurveda doctor’s supervision.

If you experience persistent shoulder pain or stiffness, consulting an Ayurveda professional is crucial for accurate diagnosis and personalised treatment to ensure a quicker recovery and improved quality of life.