Adhesive Capsulitis is a condition that gradually affects the shoulder joint area, causing pain and reducing mobility. It is called frozen shoulder because it causes the shoulder joint to stiffen and greatly reduces any ability to rotate, lift, or twist the arm at the shoulder. A layer of connective tissue covers the shoulder joint and its attached ligaments and tendons, absorbing shock and protecting the structure. Adhesive Capsulitis occurs when this connective tissue thickens, pressuring the ligaments and tendons. Swollen or thickened tissues have difficulty stretching and contracting, which greatly restricts movement.
Frozen Shoulder will first cause gradually intensifying pain. Then the pain may dissipate, but range of motion is compromised, leaving the shoulder to feel stiff. These phases can last for months, even taking years to fully disappear.
The exact cause of Frozen Shoulder is unknown, though it seems to occur in patients that have kept their shoulder immobilized for long periods of time, which is often necessary when recovering from surgery or injury.
Treatment with Physical Therapy
Manual joint mobilizations, massage, and exercises that stretch the muscles of the shoulder will allow the patient to recover as much of the range of motion possible until the Adhesive Capsulitis fades.