Rotator Cuff Injuries

What is Frozen Shoulder?

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woman suffering from shoulder painAdhesive capsulitis, usually referred to as frozen shoulder, is a condition that causes stiffness and pain within the shoulder. Frozen shoulder results when the capsule of connective tissue protecting the shoulder tightens, or becomes thicker. While the exact cause of frozen shoulder is unknown, the condition usually occurs following a shoulder injury or surgery, or as a complication of diabetes. The condition primarily impacts adult men and women, between the ages of 40 and 60.

Let’s take a closer look at frozen shoulder, and some common questions patients have about the condition.

Top 3 Questions about Frozen Shoulder

  1. What are some common symptoms of frozen shoulder? Patients with frozen shoulder usually experience severe pain and stiffness within the shoulder joint, which usually becomes worse over time. For many patients, this pain becomes worse during the night. Eventually, the shoulder begins a “thawing” phase, during which much of the shoulder pain subsides although the stiffness persists..
  2. How is frozen shoulder diagnosed? Frozen shoulder is diagnosed following a comprehensive physical examination along with a review of the patient’s symptoms. Diagnostic tests may include X-rays, and MRI scans.  The doctor may also test the patient’s range of motion by having them perform different movements involving both the arm and shoulder.
  3. How is frozen shoulder treated? Treatment for frozen shoulder will depend on the severity of the patient’s pain and their overall range of motion (stiffness). Treatments will usually include anti-inflammatory medications, physical therapy, joint distension, and corticosteroid injections. Shoulder manipulation techniques may also be performed to help move the shoulder joint in different directions, in order to help loosen the tightened tissue. If conservative treatments fail, arthroscopic surgery may be performed to stretch or release the frozen shoulder and restore motion to the shoulder joint.

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