Frozen Shoulder

The lining surrounding the ball and socket joint of the shoulder is called the capsule. It can at times become significantly inflamed and thicken. This process can cause the lining to stick to the ball and socket resulting in a “frozen shoulder”. The medical term for “frozen shoulder” is adhesive capsulitis, meaning stuck, inflamed, capsule. The cause can be traumatic, overuse, but most frequently the cause is unknown. It is a condition more common, and refractory to treatment in patients with diabetes. It is a condition that has three phases: the freezing phase in which the shoulder is getting stuck, the frozen phase in which the shoulder is stuck, and the thawing phase in which the shoulder begins to loosen. Each of these phases can take up to six months or longer. The treatment goal is to effectively move the patient with frozen shoulder through these phases with appropriate medications, physical therapy, and encouragement at an accelerated pace with as little discomfort as possible. Some cases become refractory to treatment. In these cases, more aggressive treatment can be required, which can include manipulation, or other surgical intervention.