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Frozen Shoulder/Adhesive Capsulitis
What is a 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:
- Freezing stage – Any movement of your shoulder causes pain, and the shoulder’s range of motion starts to decrease
- Frozen Stage – Pain may begin to diminish during this stage. However, your shoulder becomes stiffer, and using it becomes more difficult.
- 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
- Recovery from surgery
- Systemic diseases
- Hyperthyroidism (Overactive thyroid)
- Hypothyroidism (Underactive thyroid)
- Cardiovascular disease
- 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.