You are here

Frozen shoulder

If you are having trouble lifting your arm above your head, reaching across your body, or reaching behind your back, you may have a problem with the range of motion in your shoulder referred to as Frozen Shoulder or Adhesive Capsulitis.

Limited motion is an early symptom of a frozen shoulder, which is a general term denoting all causes of motion loss in the shoulder. In each of the three stages outlined below, physical therapy helps to reduce the symptoms and diminish the loss of muscle power that occurs around the shoulder.

Outpatient arthroscopic surgery to release the contracted tissues can be extremely helpful if combined with careful therapy. Of note, frozen shoulder is associated with diabetes, inflammatory arthritis, and thyroid disease. These must be ruled out in patients who present with frozen shoulders.

Stage one

Pain increases with movement and is often worse at night. There is a progressive loss of motion with increasing pain. This stage lasts approximately 2 - 9 months. Injections, therapy, and surgery are all options for diminishing the process.

Stage two

Pain begins to diminish and moving the arm is more comfortable. However, the range of motion is now much more limited, as much as 50% less than in the other arm. This stage may last 4 - 12 months.

Stage three

The condition begins to resolve. Many patients experience a gradual restoration of motion over the next 12 - 42 months; surgery may be required to restore motion for some patients.

Dr. Stone says ...

Frozen shoulders produce compensations in not just the shoulder but the neck and back as well. Many patients don't realize how restricted they have become. Early intervention diminishes the course of the disease.

Avoid joint replacement
You are told you have knee arthritis. The advice the doctor gives you is to go home, rest your knee, take anti-inflammatory drugs, lose some weight, wait until you are older and then get an artificial knee replacement. This advice is awful. Here's why.
You are told you have a shoulder separation or AC joint dislocation. Now what do you do?
While elite cyclists, with prize money and international rankings at stake, get straight back onto their bikes with broken clavicles, the rest of us tend to be more sensible in our approach to healing.
April 4th, 2014
The Stone Clinic's BioKnee procedure features in an article about unique procedures performed in ambulatory...
April 22nd, 2014
A major triumph for a company founded by Kevin R. Stone, M.D. The Z-Lig™ is the first engineered biologic device for...
March 11th, 2014
Dr. Stone contributes to an article about how sensors and apps will soon allow accurate, real time monitoring of...

Kevin R. Stone · Jonathan R. Pelsis · Scott T. Surrette · Ann W. Walgenbach · Thomas J. Turek 

Stone, K.R., A. Freyer, T. Turek, A.W. Walgenbach, S. Wadhwa, and J. Crues. 2007.