An Overview on Frozen Shoulder (Adhesive Capsulitis)
What is frozen shoulder? Frozen shoulder, otherwise known as adhesive capsulitis, is a common condition marked by pain and stiffness in the shoulder joint. Occurring in approximately 2% of the population, this condition typically affects patients between the ages of 40 and 60 years and females are much more likely to develop this condition. Van Nuys, Thousand Oaks and Los Angeles, California patients suffering from a “stiff shoulder” are advised to contact Dr. Mark Getelman, orthopedic shoulder specialist, for a diagnosis and treatment plan to alleviate symptoms related to a frozen shoulder.
Frozen shoulder occurs when the shoulder joint’s soft tissue thicken and becomes tight. Adhesions, or soft bands of tissue, may develop and lead to significant limited range of motion. Over time, the shoulder becomes difficult to move and the symptoms intensify.
Frozen Shoulder Symptoms
The hallmark symptom of frozen shoulder is the inability to move the shoulder. The condition develops in three stages and patients experience several symptoms during each stage. Frozen shoulder stages include:
- Freezing: Typically lasting from 6 weeks to 3-4 months, patients will gradually experience increased shoulder pain and some decreased mobility.
- Frozen: During the 4-6 month stage, the maximum limitation of ROM is reaches and then the pain level may begin to lessen.
- Thawing: Between the 6 month and 2 year mark, patients will begin to experience gradual restoration range of motion, decreased pain and better strength and function in the joint.
Frozen Shoulder Diagnosis
Frozen shoulder is diagnosed during a thorough physical examination and review of a patient’s medical history and symptoms. Dr. Getelman will move the affected joint in various directions to determine pain level and passive range of motion. A series of X-rays will be ordered to view the joint, and at times an MRI scan may be obtained to assess the soft tissues and confirm the diagnosis.