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Frozen Shoulder

more about Frozen Shoulder

Adhesive capsulitis of the shoulder

  • Adhesive capsulitis is a common cause of shoulder pain characterized by the scarring and shrinkage of the capsules surrounding the shoulder joint, leading to the loss of motion and stiffness in that joint.

  • The main symptoms are shoulder pain and a restricted range of motion in the shoulder joint.
  • It usually affects those between the ages of 40-60, and is most common in women.
  • Shoulder pain is the first symptom, and may last several months, followed by stiffness in that same shoulder.

  • Although the cause is uncertain, Adhesive capsulitis may occur as a result of an injury to the shoulder.
  • Adhesive capsulitis can be caused by any problems that limit the use of the shoulder due to pain, including bursitis, rotator cuff tears, wrist fractures and shoulder impingement syndrome.

  • The diagnosis of adhesive capsulitis is based on the symptoms and restricted range of motion that can only be discovered upon a physical examination.  The arthrography (X-ray test using contrast dye that is injected into the shoulder joint) may show a shrunken shoulder capsule.

  • The goal of treatment is pain relief and improving the range of motion of shoulder joint.
  • Physical therapy and the pain killers, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen are helpful to relieve pain.  Shoulder exercises are important to maintain the range of shoulder motion and muscle mass around the shoulder.  Cortisone injections may be used to relieve the inflammation of joint capsules, extend the shrunken capsules and regaining the normal joint space.  If resistant to these treatments, patients should consider manipulation of the shoulder.  The shrunken shoulder capsules may be stretched under anesthesia.  The range of motion is increased in most cases.

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