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Frozen Shoulder/Adhesive Capsulitis

What is a Frozen Shoulder/Adhesive Capsulitis?

Frozen shoulder Adhesive Capsulitis

Frozen shoulder is a condition characterized by stiffness and pain in your shoulder joint. Symptoms usually begin gradually, become worse over time and then resolve, usually within a few years.

The risk of developing a frozen shoulder increases if you’re recovering from a medical condition or procedure that prevents you from moving your arm, such as a stroke or shoulder surgery.

It’s unusual for a frozen shoulder to recur in the same shoulder, but some people can develop it in the opposite shoulder.

Symptoms of Frozen Shoulder/Adhesive Capsulitis

A Frozen shoulder occurs when the joint capsule of the shoulder thickens and tightens around the shoulder joint, restricting its movement.

There are 3 phases to a frozen shoulder:

  1. Freezing stage – Any movement of your shoulder causes pain, and the shoulder’s range of motion starts to decrease
  2. Frozen Stage – Pain may begin to diminish during this stage. However, your shoulder becomes stiffer, and using it becomes more difficult.
  3. Thawing stage – Range of motion in your shoulder begins to improve.

Risk factors for Frozen Shoulder/Adhesive Capsulitis

  • Age and Sex:
    • People 40 years+
    • Women are more likely to have frozen shoulder than men
  • People who’ve had prolonged immobility or reduced mobility 
    • Rotator cuff injury
    • Broken arm
    • Stroke
    • Recovery from surgery
  • Systemic diseases
    • Diabetes
    • Hyperthyroidism (Overactive thyroid)
    • Hypothyroidism (Underactive thyroid)
    • Cardiovascular disease
    • Tuberculosis
    • Parkinson’s disease

How is Frozen Shoulder/Adhesive Capsulitis treated?

Treatment for frozen shoulder involves range-of-motion exercises and, sometimes, corticosteroids and numbing medications injected into the joint capsule. In a small percentage of cases, arthroscopic surgery may be indicated to loosen the joint capsule so that it can move more freely.