Frozen shoulder, also known as adhesive capsulitis, is a fairly common pain syndrome. Basically what happens is the shoulder joint capsule thickens and stiffens. Tight bands of tissue, called adhesions, develop. And often times the synovial fluid (fluid inside the joint) decreases.
When the adhesions develop and inflammation ensues, the pain in the shoulder begins. The hallmark symptom is severe shoulder stiffness accompanied by pain in the shoulder (usually the lateral side). There are 3 stages of frozen shoulder according to most experts, including the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons:
Freezing stage: Any movement of your shoulder causes pain, and your shoulder’s range of motion starts to become limited.
Frozen stage: Pain may begin to diminish during this stage. However, your shoulder becomes stiffer, and using it becomes more difficult.
Thawing stage: The range of motion in your shoulder begins to improve.
Treatment for frozen shoulder typically involves anti-inflammatory medication for pain control and physical therapy/chiropractic care for mobilization and manipulation of the affected shoulder joint. Shoulder exercises are also prescribed to get the shoulder joint moving again. The exercises are also good for helping to stabilize the shoulder. In rare cases, arthroscopic shoulder surgery may be needed to break up the adhesions formed in the shoulder joint.
We are happy to answer any questions you may have about this condition and we look forward to hearing from you.