Frozen shoulder


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Frozen shoulder, also known as adhesive capsulitis, is a condition characterized by pain, stiffness, and reduced range of motion in the shoulder joint. It typically develops gradually and progresses through three stages: freezing, frozen, and thawing.

Frozen shoulder ? Causes Symptoms & Treatment

Causes & Symptoms

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Several factors may contribute to its development of frozen shoulder:

  • Prolonged immobility or reduced use of the shoulder joint, such as after an injury, surgery, or prolonged immobilization in a sling or cast, can increase the risk of developing frozen shoulder.
  • In a frozen shoulder, the capsule surrounding the shoulder joint becomes inflamed and thickened, leading to the formation of adhesions and scar tissues
  • Individuals with certain medical conditions, such as diabetes, thyroid disorders, cardiovascular disease, or Parkinson's disease, have an increased risk of developing frozen shoulders.
  • Frozen shoulder is more common in individuals between the ages of 40 and 60. It also tends to affect women more frequently than men.

The primary symptoms of frozen shoulder include:

  • Shoulder pain: The pain is usually dull, aching, and located deep within the shoulder joint. It may worsen at night, especially when lying on the affected side.
  • Stiffness and reduced range of motion: The shoulder joint becomes progressively stiff, making it difficult to move the arm and shoulder freely. Both active (self-initiated) and passive (assisted) movements may be restricted.
  • Gradual onset and progression: Frozen shoulder typically develops gradually over a period of months. It progresses through stages, with increasing stiffness and limitations in range of motion.


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The treatment options for frozen shoulder aim to relieve pain, improve range of motion, and restore shoulder function. These can include:

  • Physical therapy: Stretching and strengthening exercises prescribed by a physical therapist can help improve range of motion and reduce shoulder stiffness.
  • Pain relief: Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), oral corticosteroids, or corticosteroid injections into the shoulder joint can help reduce pain and inflammation.
  • Heat and cold therapy: Applying heat packs or cold packs to the shoulder can provide temporary relief and help reduce pain and stiffness.
  • Hydrodilatation: In some cases, a sterile fluid is injected into the shoulder joint to expand the joint capsule and improve range of motion.
  • Manipulation under anesthesia: This procedure involves the manipulation of the shoulder joint while under anesthesia to break up adhesions and improve shoulder movement.
  • Surgical intervention: In rare cases when conservative treatments are ineffective, surgery may be considered. Surgical procedures for frozen shoulders may include arthroscopic release, in which scar tissue and adhesions are removed.
  • The duration of frozen shoulder can vary, but it typically resolves over time. Physical therapy and home exercises play a crucial role in the recovery process. Appropriate treatment options can be recommended based on the individual's specific circumstances.