Frozen shoulder sufferers from around the world are descending on London for a pioneering treatment that makes long-term suffering with the condition a thing of the past. Also known by its medical term, adhesive capsulitis, frozen shoulder occurs when connective tissue around the glenohumeral joint of the shoulder girdle gets inflamed, causing severe pain, stiffness and restricted movement. Although most sufferers tend to get frozen shoulder between the ages of 40 and 60, it is also common in people with diabetes, lung and heart disease. Those who have a history of sporting injures are also susceptible to the condition. According to the UK’s National Health Service website, around one in 20 people suffer from frozen shoulder.
However, a leading orthopedic surgeon at a prestigious London hospital has helped revolutionize the approach to the treatment of frozen shoulder and cure what can be a debilitating condition for people globally. Simon Moyes, consultant at The Wellington Hospital in London’s affluent St John’s Wood area, has worked with his radiological colleagues to treat over 130 people in the last two years alone. He does it with a pioneering technique known as hydrostatic distension. Moyes told the Guardian Liberty Voice that “the procedure is a game changer,” and he explained why so many sufferers are now descending on London for this pioneering treatment.
“Previously, patients would use heat or ice packs and then over the counter analgesics,” Moyes said. “then they would wait two to three years for the condition to resolve itself. If they saw a specialist, the patient would normally be treated with physiotherapy, stronger pain killers, intra-articular injections or, if that failed, surgery.” Although the technique is relatively new and little-known outside the UK, Moyes pointed out that the procedure was quick, straightforward and that sufferers should hold no fear of undergoing the treatment. The patient, under ultrasound-guided conditions, is given two injections a fortnight apart. On each occasion, a mixture of local anesthetic, steroid and saline is injected into the glenohumeral joint with the appropriate volume. Following the injections, patients normally see almost immediate relief in their pain and improved range. Physiotherapy is usually added to the mix and a second injection is administered two weeks after the first. The injection procedure normally only takes about 10 minutes and at four weeks, 80 percent of patients have good or excellent results.
“I was at a conference in Chicago recently and none of my colleagues there were aware of hydrostatic distension,” Moyes added. “People are traveling to the UK for this treatment from all corners at the moment and we are seeing our client list grow.” Moyes also carries out the procedure at London Bridge Hospital, where each injection treatment costs “in the order of £480” and he is convinced it will be taken up more within the United States shortly. That means patients need not keep descending on London for access to the pioneering treatment. “The treatment itself is very effective and helps reduce the need for any surgery, produces a rapid resolution of the condition in most patients and avoids the time and cost of other lengthy treatment,” he said.
By Robert Shepherd
Interview with Simon Moyes, consultant at The Wellington Hospital