Adhesive Capsulitis (Frozen Shoulder)

A00071F02Diagnoses: Adhesive capsulitis, also referred to as frozen shoulder, is a pathology characterized by pain and decreased motion of the shoulder joint. Symptoms typically worsen gradually, then improve within one to three years. Risk increases when recovering from a

Symptoms: Frozen shoulder typically progresses slowly, and is categorized into three stages:

  • Freezing stage: Motion of the shoulder becomes limited and painful
  • Frozen stage: Pain begins to decrease, but motion becomes more limited and using the shoulder becomes difficult.
  • Thawing stage: Motion in the shoulder begins to improve

Causes: The cause of frozen shoulder continues to be unknown. However, there is a higher incidence in people with diabetes or have recently had to immobilize their shoulder. When frozen shoulder occurs, the capsule encompassing the bones, ligaments, and tendons thicken and tighten around the shoulder joint, resulting in limited motion.

Our Physical Therapy Treatment: Goals of physical therapy will ultimately be to reduce pain, restore normal pain free range of motion and enable return to all functional and leisure activities. Treatments will vary depending on the severity and stage of the condition, but will most typically include:

  • Mechanical diagnoses/treatment for improved movement and pain reduction
  • Postural education and awareness
  • Manual therapy
  • Functional activity training for compensatory motion

Treatment will focus on educating the patient in an individualized self-treatment plan and establishing a home exercise program to further promote healing and prevention of future injury.