Doctors test new frozen shoulder treatment

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wwltv.com

Posted on July 9, 2014 at 5:46 PM

Updated Wednesday, Jul 9 at 5:46 PM

Meg Farris / Eyewitness News
Email: mfarris@wwltv.com | Twitter: @megfarriswwl

NEW ORLEANS -- Most shoulder pain is caused by bursitis or rotator cuff problems, but there is another painful condition that doctors see called frozen shoulder.

And now doctors are testing a new treatment that may give relief.

Charlene Huerstel has trouble doing some simple things we take for granted, like blow drying her hair and lifting a gallon of milk out of the refrigerator.

"I have a new grand baby and I can only hold him with this side," said Charlene Huerstel, 51 or Arabi, pointing to her right side.

The reason is a frozen shoulder.

"And it just kept hurting and hurting and hurting, and I couldn't move it," Huerstel said about her left shoulder following an injury in May 2012.

"Frozen shoulder, or the medical term is adhesive capsulitis, is basically when the shoulder stiffens up and causes pain. Over time it will stiffen up and cause essentially more pain and then typically, left untreated, it does resolve on its own. It can take up to a year to do in majority of cases about a year or two," said Dr. Will Junius, a board certified orthopedic surgeon and sports medicine specialist.

He said it can happen after an injury or shoulder surgery, but usually there is no known reason. It's more common in some people.

"There's a much stronger association with diabetics and frozen shoulder than there are with any other kind of other problems that patients have," Dr. Junius explained.

The usual treatment is physical therapy.

"What that therapy does, is it helps to stretch that joint capsule which is contracted, which then limits the motion of the shoulder, and the goal of physical therapy is to stretch that back out again," said Dr. Junius.

But now a drug that is FDA approved for another condition is being tested here in Metairie to see if, when injected, it can decrease inflammation, improve range of motion and speed up recovery.

Charlene is disappointed that she doesn't qualify for this study, so continues her physical therapy at home.

The study is open to adults who have had frozen shoulder, on one side, for three to months.

All exams, medication, and MRI's are free.

To see if you qualify, call 504-609-2333. For more on frozen shoulders, click here. For more on MedPharmics studies, click here.

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