Frozen Shoulder


What is a Frozen Shoulder?

Frozen shoulder, also known as adhesive capsulitis, is a chronic painful stiffness of the shoulder joint. The articular shoulder capsule (a sac of ligaments around the joint) swells and stiffens, restricting its mobility. It typically affects only one shoulder, but sometimes both are affected. Over time, it becomes very hard to move the shoulder.


Why does a Frozen Shoulder occur?

The causes of Frozen Shoulder are still not completely understood. However, a few known factors put you at risk of developing this ailment:

  •   Diabetes - Frozen Shoulder occurs much more in diabetic patients, affecting 10-20% more patients.
  •   Immobilization - If the shoulder has been immobilized for a long period of time (maybe due to surgery, fracture, or other injury), chances of Frozen Shoulder occurring are more. Ensuring patients move their shoulders after surgery or recovery from injury is of utmost importance.
  •   Other diseases - Other diseases associated with Frozen Shoulder include hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, Parkinson's disease, and cardiac disease.
  • What are symptoms of Frozen Shoulder?

    The pain from this disease is usually dull or aching. It is generally worse early in the morning.

    What are methods of examination for Frozen Shoulder?

    After discussing your symptoms and medical history, your doctor will examine your shoulder. Your doctor will move your shoulder carefully in all directions to see if movement is limited and if pain occurs with the motion. The range of motion when someone else moves your shoulder is called "passive range of motion". Your doctor will compare this to the range of motion you display when you move your shoulder on your own (active range of motion). People with frozen shoulder have limited range of motion both actively and passively. Other tests will include X-Rays, MRI scans and ultrasound, if needed. 

    What is the treatment for Frozen Shoulder?

    The focus of therapy is to reduce pain and increase range of movement in the shoulder. More than 90% patients heal with non-surgical treatment. Anti-inflammatory drugs and steroid injections are generally used. Specific exercises are generally suggested to increase range of movement.

    Is it possible to treat a frozen shoulder?

    Treatment of frozen shoulder or adhesive capsulitis includes home-based exercise program, NSAID’s and steroid injections in the shoulder.Only in resistant cases and failure of conservative treatment after many months, an arthroscopic release can be considered