Frozen shoulder, also known as adhesive capsulitis, is a condition of the shoulder that is characterized by pain and inflammation of the shoulder joint that causes limited movement. It may progress to a state where an individual may find it very hard to move the shoulder. It is more common in adults 40-60 years of age and is more common in women than men.
Frozen shoulder is caused by inflammation of the ligaments holding the shoulder bones to each other. The shoulder capsule becomes thick, tight, and stiff bands of tissue called adhesions may develop. Individuals with shoulder injury, shoulder surgeries, shoulder immobilized for a long period of time, disease conditions such as diabetes, hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, Parkinson’s disease, and cardiac diseases are at risk of developing frozen shoulder.
Frozen shoulder may cause pain and stiffness and limit the movements of shoulder. The condition can be diagnosed by the presenting symptoms and imaging studies such as X-rays or MRI scans. Treatment for frozen shoulder includes non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, corticosteroid injections, physical therapy, and treatment of underlying risk factors. In severe cases, arthroscopic shoulder surgery may be performed. During surgery, the adhesions and scar tissue will be removed and tight ligaments, if any, will be dissected. Following surgery, physical therapy will be prescribed to bring full range of motion and strengthen the muscles of the shoulder.