Frozen Shoulders PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 08 February 2010 08:20

frozen_shouldersWhat is frozen shoulder?

Frozen shoulder (adhesive capsulitis) is stiffness, pain, and limited range of movement in your shoulder that may follow an injury. The tissues around the joint stiffen, scar tissue forms, and shoulder movements become difficult and painful. It affects about two percent of the general population.

What causes frozen shoulder?

The causes of frozen shoulder are not fully understood. The process involves thickening and contracture of the capsule surrounding the shoulder joint. Frozen shoulder occurs much more commonly in individuals with diabetes, affecting 10 percent to 20 percent of these individuals. Other medical problems associated with increased risk of frozen shoulder include: hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, Parkinson's disease, and cardiac disease or surgery. Frozen shoulder can develop when you stop using the joint normally because of pain, injury, or a chronic health condition, such as diabetes or arthritis. Any shoulder problem can lead to frozen shoulder if you do not work to maintain full range of motion.

How is frozen shoulder diagnosed?

An orthopedic doctor can diagnose frozen shoulder based on the patient's symptoms and a physical examination.

To rule out other causes, such as rotator cuff tear your doctor may request an X-rays or MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) of the affected shoulder.

How is it treated?

Usually your doctor may start with NSAID (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) application of heat to the affected area, followed by mild stretching. If conservative measures are not enough, your doctor may advise steroid injection with a direct supervision of a physical therapist to bring back full motion. In more serious cases, surgery may be needed.

An Article courtesy of AAOS & WebMD © 2009. all rights reserved