Frozen Shoulder

Frozen shoulder, also called adhesive capsulitis is a condition characterized by pain and loss of motion in shoulder joint. It is more common in older adults aged between 40 and 60 years and is more common in women than men.


Frozen shoulder is caused by inflammation of the ligaments and capsule holding the shoulder bones to each other. The shoulder capsule becomes thick and tight, and stiff bands of tissue called adhesions may develop. Frozen shoulder can occur after shoulder injury, shoulder surgery, or if the shoulder is immobilized for a long period of time. Diseases such as diabetes, hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, Parkinson’s disease and cardiac diseases increase the risk of developing frozen shoulder. The etiology of frozen shoulder is unknown.


Frozen shoulder may cause pain and stiffness and limit the movements of the shoulder.


Frozen shoulder can be diagnosed by the presenting symptoms and by physical exam. Imaging studies are usually normal.

Conservative Treatment Options

Conservative Treatment options include:

  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and steroid injections for pain
  • Physical therapy to improve your range of motion
  • Sometimes heat may be applied to reduce pain


Your surgeon may recommend Shoulder arthroscopy when the conservative treatment does not work. During surgery, the scar tissue will be removed and tight ligaments, if any, will be dissected. Following surgery intense physical therapy will be advised to bring back full range of motion and strengthen the muscles.