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Frozen shoulder

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​A frozen shoulder (adhesive capsulitis) describes a condition in which motion of the shoulder joint is restricted. 

Typically characterized by pain and stiffness in the shoulder, frozen shoulder is a result of the thickening and contraction of the capsule surrounding the shoulder joint. 

Traumatic injury or long-term immobilization of the joint can cause frozen shoulder. It is also more commonly seen in individuals with diabetes, heart or Parkinson’s disease.


Frozen shoulder ca​​n often get better on its own. However, your physician will determine what stage of the condition the shoulder is in and may suggest options for treatment including:

Nonsur​​gical Treatment for a frozen shoulder

  • Medication – pain can be managed using anti-inflammatory pills like ibuprofen. Your physician may also recommend an injection to the affected area to relieve pain and symptoms.
  • Physical therapy – a physical therapist may recommend a series of stretching exercises that can increase the range of motion of the shoulder. These exercises may be combined with heat to help reduce pain.


In cases where nonsurgical treatments do not improve range of motion or reduce pain, your physician may consider a surgical procedure to correct the condition.

  • Shoulder manipulation – in this procedure, the patient is put under anesthesia and the doctor will force the shoulder to move. The shoulder capsule will stretch and increased range of motion may occur.
  • Shoulder arthroscopy –an orthopedic surgeon will make a number of small incisions around the shoulder joint and use a small camera and other instruments to cut through the areas of the joint that are affected by the contraction.

Contact us for care

If this is a medical emergency, call 911.

Call: 1-866-520-2510

(Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.)

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