What Is Frozen Shoulder (Adhesive Capsulitis)?
Your shoulders are among the most mobile joints in your body and require a coordinated balance of muscles, tendons, bones, ligaments, and nerves in order to be not only flexible but strong and stable, as well. Sometimes, your shoulder joints can become increasingly stiff, painful, and difficult to move, which is often the result of a condition known as adhesive capsulitis, or frozen shoulder. Dr. Kevin McElroy and Dr. Steven Ferrer of Progressive Spine & Sports Medicine, along with the rest of our team, have worked with hundreds of men and women struggling with this irritating condition, and we invite you to keep reading to learn more about it.
What is Frozen Shoulder?
When a person has frozen shoulder (known clinically as adhesive capsulitis), the elastic and fibrous capsule surrounding the shoulder joint becomes stiff and immobile. Adhesions also develop, which are considered thickened bands of tissue, and often there is a decrease in lubrication (called synovial fluid) within the joint itself. According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, the condition progresses in three stages:
- Freezing: typically lasting a period of 6 weeks to 9 months, a gradual decline in mobility and increase in pain becomes apparent
- Frozen: typically lasting 4 to 6 months, pain may subside here but immobility and stiffness remain a big problem
- Thawing: it can take 6 months to 2 years for a gradual return to normal movement and strength occurs (though treatment can help)
Causes & Symptoms of Frozen Shoulder
As with many conditions, the exact cause of frozen shoulder is not always clear nor clearly understood. Certain risk factors are possible, including a history of shoulder immobilization (such as may occur following a surgery or injury) or the presence of other medical conditions like diabetes, cardiac disease, Parkinson’s disease, and thyroid dysfunction. Interestingly, it’s not believed that arm dominance nor occupation plays a direct role.
As the name implies, stiffness and decreased range of motion are among the hallmark symptoms of frozen shoulder. Pain is often described as achy or dull, and typically felt on the outer shoulder and upper arm.
How Our Ramsey Pain Management Doctors Treat Frozen Shoulder Syndrome
At Progressive Spine & Sports Medicine, we can diagnose frozen shoulder through a combination of physical examination, X-ray imaging, and thorough patient history assessment. With a correct diagnosis in hand, we can then guide you through a customized treatment plan that aims to address the symptoms of your frozen shoulder as well as prevent recurrence or secondary problems (including muscle weakness, arthritis and instability). Typical approaches may include:
- Physical therapy, with an emphasis on passive and active-assisted range of motion exercises
- Osteopathic manipulations and joint mobilizations
- Therapeutic and and regenerative medicine injections
Our Ramsey Pain Management Team Treats Shoulders & Other Joints, So If You or a Loved One is Struggling, Call Us Today!
Has your shoulder been bothering you? We encourage you to consult with our Ramsey pain management team, led by Dr. Steven Ferrer and Dr. Kevin McElroy. We use non-surgical, best-practice techniques and technology to deliver the best possible care for our patients in the northern New Jersey area. To schedule an appointment, call Progressive Spine & Sports Medicine today at 201 962 9199