Frozen shoulder is a tightening of the shoulder joint. It results in a loss of movement and pain at the shoulder joint.
In frozen shoulder:
This condition gets worse over time. After a period of time, the shoulder may improve spontaneously. This improvement is called thawing.
Frozen shoulder is caused by tightening of the soft tissues. This includes the capsule that surrounds the joint.
Factors that increase your risk for frozen shoulder include:
The doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. The doctor will test the range of motion in your shoulder.
Tests may include:
Treatment focuses on:
This surgery is a forceful movement of the arm at the shoulder joint. It is done to loosen the stiffness. This is performed under anesthesia. It is followed by intensive physical therapy.
A small incision is made in the shoulder. Special small instruments are inserted through the incision. The tightened tissues are released. The shoulder is manipulated. Physical therapy must be done after this surgery.
If you are diagnosed with a frozen shoulder, follow your doctor's instructions .
To help prevent frozen shoulder:
American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine
Canadian Orthopaedic Association
Canadian Orthopaedic Foundation
Cecil Textbook of Medicine . 21st ed. WB Saunders Company; 2000.
Campbell's Operative Orthopaedics . 9th ed. Mosby, Inc; 1998.
Woodward TW and Best TM. The painful shoulder part I: clinical evaluation. Am Fam Physician . 2000;61:3079-3088.
Woodward TW and Best TM. The painful shoulder part II: acute and chronic disorders. Am Fam Physician . 2000;61:3291-3300.
Last reviewed February 2009 by Robert E. Leach, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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