Frozen Shoulder (Adhesive Capsulitis)

Frozen shoulder is a condition affecting the shoulder joint and causes painful, restricted movement. The capsule surrounding the shoulder joint contracts and thickens as scar tissue develops.

This is more common for women than men, and usually for those between the ages of 40 and 70 years old. Diabetes, some other medical conditions, and previous shoulder injuries can increase the risk of frozen shoulder developing. Causes of frozen shoulder are still not fully understood.

Signs and symptoms of an Frozen Shoulder (Adhesive Capsulitis) may include:
  • Inability to move the shoulder normally
  • Dull or aching pain
  • Pain during the night, may affect sleep
  • Increased pain with activities involving the shoulder
  • Stiffness in shoulder

Anti-inflammatory medications may be recommended to manage pain and swelling.


Corticosteroid injections to the affected portion of the shoulder can provide short-term pain relief and reduced inflammation in the joint, when medication is ineffective or not an option.

Physical Therapy

Certified Physical Therapists work closely with doctors to create an individualized program to maximize healing and restore function, strength and mobility.


When non-operative treatment fails to produce the desired results, surgery may be considered. Two methods are used to release or stretch the joint capsule: manipulation under anesthesia and arthroscopy. Manipulating under anesthesia allows the doctor to move the arm and thus stretches or tears the capsule. Arthroscopy can be used in conjunction with manipulation under anesthesia to allow the surgeon to insert a small camera and instruments to cut through the tightened areas causing the frozen shoulder.