Frozen shoulder, also known as adhesive capsulitis, is a condition that results in a loss of both active and passive range of motion.
Adhesive Capsulitis (Frozen Shoulder)
Frozen shoulder, also known as adhesive capsulitis, most commonly affects patients between the ages of 40 to 60. It results in a loss of both active and passive range of motion and can be quite painful. It is more common in women and in patients with diabetes. The most common presenting symptoms are pain and loss of range of motion. It is not usually associated with trauma but may develop after a period of shoulder immobilization or surgery. Imaging is usually not necessary, but an MRI may show a contracted capsule and loss of the inferior pouch. Conservative treatment usually consists of a cortisone injection and extensive formal physical therapy to regain range of motion. Participation in a rigorous therapy program is crucial in the recovery of frozen shoulder. Patients should notice a significant improvement in pain and function within the first six to eight weeks of therapy. In rare cases, surgical intervention may be warranted for an arthroscopic capsular release and lysis of adhesions.
Frequently Asked Questions
Most shoulder pain can be treated with rest, anti-inflammatories and physical therapy. Any primary doctor or general orthopedist can prescribe these simple solutions, but a trained shoulder specialist won’t just treat your pain — they will diagnose and treat your specific problem.
At Modern Orthopaedics, our trained shoulder specialists will ask the right questions, perform specific examinations and order imaging when appropriate. They will be able to diagnose your problem and treat you whether your problem is simple or complex. Although you may not feel like your shoulder issue is “bad enough” to see a specialist, it is advantageous to have the opinion of an expert in the field when it comes to your health.
Before deciding on the treatment for your shoulder pain, our doctors will first diagnose your problem. Depending on the type and severity of your problem, the treatment options will vary.
Generally, physical therapy will be involved in the first step of treatment. You will work closely with a therapist two to three times a week to develop a routine that is tailored to your diagnosis and needs. Therapy may take some time to help, which is why a six-week trial is generally recommended before proceeding with other treatment options.
Cortisone injections are often used in orthopedics. Our doctors are conservative when it comes to using cortisone injections and reserve them for specific situations. They are most commonly used for patients who may have a stiff or frozen shoulder or shoulder arthritis. They use them less commonly for rotator cuff issues, but there are exceptions. Each patient’s situation is unique, and our doctors will work with you to ensure the highest level of care.
Surgical intervention is reserved for shoulder issues that do not respond to more conservative measures or acute injuries that need to be addressed right away. The most common shoulder surgeries performed by our doctors are done arthroscopically. This allows for smaller incisions and a quicker recovery for our patients. The length of recovery, immobilization period and rehabilitation protocol differ depending on the surgery.
Many patients complain of shoulder pain that disturbs their sleep. It can be caused by many different shoulder issues. The pain comes from inflammation in the shoulder that may be a result of tendinopathy, rotator cuff tear, frozen shoulder, arthritis or a number of other issues. When lying in bed, it is difficult to find a position that is comfortable due to the fact that many people lie on their sides, stomach or with their arms overhead. In many cases, if the pain is persistent, patients will find sleeping in a recliner is most helpful. Whether you have had months of restless nights or just a few days, we can help you understand what is wrong and determine the best ways to improve your quality of life.
As our patient, you will have an in-depth consultation with one of our doctors. We will create an individualized treatment plan together, tailored to your problem and lifestyle. Our doctors prefer non-invasive treatments whenever possible, including physical therapy and/or injections. If your problem ultimately does require surgery, our doctors prefer the least invasive surgical techniques possible. Our goals are the same as yours: to get you back to living your best life, pain free.