What is Frozen Shoulder?

One of the many problems that both athletes and non-athletes face is an issue commonly called Frozen Shoulder. Frozen Shoulder, or Adhesive Capsulitis, can cause major pain and discomfort, limiting your motion and strength. Following are a few things your shoulder surgeon wants you to know about Frozen Shoulder.


Frozen Shoulder does not always have a trigger that can be pinpointed, but many times a person who has had a period of immobility will experience the problem. An unrelated surgery that requires holding the arm in one position for a long period of time, such as what happens after a mastectomy, could cause frozen shoulder. Your tendons, ligaments, and joints are enclosed in a pocket of tissue. Injury or immobility can toughen and thicken this tissue, preventing the arm from moving properly.


Frozen shoulder is exactly what you might think–the inability to move your shoulder joint properly. Pain, stiffness, inflammation, and swelling may occur in any combination, reducing how far the arm can reach or twist. The symptoms may happen in phases, from painful to frozen to thawing, the last of which is when the shoulder begins to regain range of motion. This process could take weeks or years, depending on the trigger and severity.

What To Do

If you are experiencing stiffness or inflexibility in a shoulder, a visit to your shoulder surgeon will be the first step to recovery. The doctor will perform an exam and possibly order x-rays or scans such as an MRI to diagnose the problem. If indeed you’ve got Frozen Shoulder, your shoulder surgeon may prescribe medication or physical therapy to help you. Severe cases may require surgery.

Frozen Shoulder can be a restrictive and painful condition. For any trouble with your shoulders or other joints, schedule your appointment with your shoulder surgeon right away.

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