Frozen Shoulder

Adhesive Capsulitis of the Shoulder is commonly referred to as ‘Frozen Shoulder’, this condition arises when the glenoid and humeral head adhere to each other, causing a progressive restriction, and low of movement in the shoulder as the joint capsule thickens. Most commonly observed in the 40-60 age range, females, following a period of immobility in the arm, and in those with diabetes, in fact this condition is often the first presentation of late-onset diabetes. This tends to affect the left shoulder more than the right and can often occur without any previous history of trauma or injury. 

Capsulitis tends to advance in three stages:

The Cooling Stage
During this stage pain is spread throughout the shoulder, worsening during movement and resulting in a reduced capacity to use the arm. Many patients try to protect their arm and avoid using it which only worsens the condition as it encourages further thickening of the joint capsule.

The Freezing Stage
During this stage pain will slowly build up, and you will notice increased stiffness. Pain can become more localized around the humeral head, worsening throughout the night and therefore impeding sleep. This stage typically lasts between six and nine months.

The Thawing Stage
This stage typically occurs naturally, and often times range of motion will gradually improve. However, in some cases it can take up to two years before you regain full movement in the joint.

Diagnosis is usually clinical, but support from ultrasound or MRI scans is sometimes useful. Typically speaking, treatment is conservative, combing anti-inflammatories, physical modalities, joint mobilization and muscular stretching. Surgical treatment is saved for cases where rehabilitation has had little or no effect, here the joint is mobilized through removal of adhesions. 

While neck pain is common, it is not normal and should receive professional medical care to determine the cause. Dr. Daniel J. Saenz at MVMT Matters in Sacramento, California, is experienced in accurately diagnosing and treating chronic and debilitating neck pain. Call today to schedule your appointment.