Adhesive capsulitis, also referred to as frozen shoulder, is the condition often characterized by stiffness or pain in which the shoulder loses mobility due to inflammation in the shoulder joint. There is no certain cause for adhesive capsulitis; however, it often occurs after the shoulder has been in prolonged periods of immobility, such as in a sling after an accident. Symptoms of the shoulder joint typically worsen over time and gradually resolve on their own. If symptoms do not resolve treatment options are available. There are three stages of adhesive capsulitis:
Painful stage: pain occurs due to movement of the shoulder and the shoulder joint starts to lose mobility
Frozen stage: pain decreases considerably yet range of motion decreases drastically
Thawing stage: pain and range of motion gradually improve
Genesis Orthopedics & Sports Medicine uses cortisone injections for reducing pain and inflammation for an array of joint injuries. In adhesive capsulitis, cortisone can be used to reduce inflammation and improve shoulder mobility.
Physical therapy is a frequently used treatment option for adhesive capsulitis. Treatment of adhesive capsulitis involves keeping the shoulder joint as mobile as possible. Physical therapy offers many exercises for aiding shoulder mobility. Consult a physician at Genesis Orthopedics & Sports Medicine for a recommended physical therapy plan. Therapy is conducted with the goal of decreasing the injury’s pain, restoring the shoulder’s range of motion, and helping it gradually regain strength.
Surgery is a last resort procedure for individuals suffering from adhesive capsulitis. Surgery is done arthroscopically with a few small incisions in which the doctor inserts specialized tools used to remove hardened scar tissues. Closed manipulation can also be performed under anesthesia and is a procedure in which the doctor moves the arm at the shoulder joint in order to break up the thickened scar tissue and improve mobility.