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What is Frozen shoulder Syndrome?

Frozen Shoulder Syndrome is also Known as Adhesive Capsulitis.

The Shoulder joint is formed of several strong ligaments and a thick joint capsule. These connect the bones of the shoulder and allow for good strength and stability in a joint with more motion than any other joint in the body.

When adhesive Capsulitis occurs, an inflammatory process takes place which causes the soft tissues within the shoulder to become infiltrated with scar tissue .this scar tissue organizes itself to from very tough bands called adhesions that restrict motion.

As these adhesions become more and more contracted, the joint becomes more painful and progressively harder to move.

Who develops adhesive Capsulitis?

While many times there is no specific cause for adhesive Capsulitis, we do know that some people are at higher risk of developing it. Some risk factors are:

  • Women aged 40+;
  • Diabetics;
  • Individuals with endocrine diseases, such as hypo or hyperthyroidism;
  • Individuals who have undergone breast or open heart surgery;
  • Individuals with Cervical spine disorders;
  • Individuals who have recently undergone shoulder surgery or had on the injury.

How is adhesive Capsulitis diagnosed?

Your MD or PA will make this diagnosis using a combination of several things:

  • History: you may remember a specific incident that caused your pain or recalls when your pain suddenly increased.
  • Exam: we will perform several tests to assess pain, the range of motion, and stability of the shoulder.
  • Radiographs: X-rays will be taken to check for any other cause of your pain.
  • MRI: An MRI may be ordered if we suspect that there is an additional cause for your pain and loss of motion. Often times, this test is not necessary and the diagnosis can be made on history and examination alone.

How is Adhesive Capsulitis treated?

The treatment of adhesive Capsulitis often depends on the stage and severity of the condition.

In the early stages, we often use oral anti-inflammatory medications to aid in decreasing the inflammation of the joint and hopefully reduce the formations of adhesions. We commonly couple the oral medications with formal physical therapy to further reduce inflammation and maximize the range of motion activities.

In the later stages, we may consider treating your shoulder with special intraarticular injections along with oral pain medications and formal physical therapy.

Advanced cases may require surgical intervention in the form of shoulder arthroscopy. During this arthroscopy, we release the adhesions that have developed and also fully examine the shoulder from the inside. Physical therapy is instituted immediately after this type of procedure.

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