Frozen Shoulder is a condition where the capsule surrounding the shoulder joint thickens or contracts. It is also known as “adhesive capsulitis.” The causes of the problem are not fully known, but it occurs more often in individuals with diabetes, hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, Parkinson’s disease, and in those who have had cardiac disease or surgery.
Frozen shoulder can also develop after the shoulder has been injured and immobilized for a period of time. That’s why medical/surgical treatment and physical therapy prescribed by Institute orthopaedic specialists is so important in regaining mobility long-term.
Symptoms include a dull, aching pain that radiates over the outer shoulder and often into the upper arm. It worsens with movement and causes stiffness and limited mobility, even when someone else attempts to move the patient’s shoulder.
Minimally invasive shoulder
arthroscopy and manipulation
provide patients with much
faster pain relief and return
of movement than waiting
until the shoulder “thaws.”
Frozen shoulder is sometimes explained as having three stages:
- Freezing – begins with a slow onset of pain and a restriction of the shoulder as the pain worsens.
- Frozen – the pain becomes less severe, but the stiffness remains. This state can last anywhere from four to nine months.
- Thawing – the mobility of the shoulder gradually returns over a period that can last up to two years.
Orthopaedic specialists prescribe anti-inflammatory medications and gradual physical therapy to help decrease pain and restore mobility. Nerve blocks that inject corticosteroid medications directly into the joint can also be effective.
For patients who do not see an improvement over time, or who cannot be sidelined from their jobs or activities until the motion returns, surgical intervention is warranted.
The procedure involves putting patients to sleep under anesthesia so that surgeons can force the capsule in the shoulder to stretch or tear. Then, they make several small incisions around the shoulder and insert an arthroscopic camera and instruments through the incision. The instruments enable them to cut through the restricted parts of the joint capsule.
Call 215-481-BONE today to find an Institute surgeon.