Adhesive capsulitis, also known as frozen shoulder, is a condition that causes loss of mobility, stiffness and pain in the shoulder joint.
Adhesive capsulitis, also known as frozen shoulder, is a condition that causes loss of mobility, stiffness and pain in the shoulder joint. Symptoms of frozen shoulder develop gradually and, in most cases, resolve gradually on their own over an average of 1.5 years. With the help of medical professionals, this process can be made more manageable.
Frozen shoulder can be classified into three stages:
The shoulder joint is composed of bones, ligaments and tendons, and is surrounded by a capsule of connective tissue. When this capsule starts to thicken and tighten, it leads to limited movements and causes frozen shoulder. Frozen shoulder is associated with diabetes or prolonged shoulder immobilization due to past injury or surgery.
Frozen shoulder is diagnosed through a physical exam and an assessment of one’s medical history. During the consultation, you will be asked to perform certain movements for the doctor to examine the range of motion and degree of pain felt in the arms and shoulders.
In some cases, an X-ray or MRI may be requested in order to further verify structural problems, as well as to rule out other medical conditions.
Frozen shoulder gets better over time and there are various ways to manage the condition, depending on its severity.
Corticosteroids can be injected into the shoulder joint to reduce pain and inflammation, as well as increase mobility. This option is best administered during the early stages of frozen shoulder, though it is temporary.
Frozen shoulder usually resolves on its own through conservative management. However, if symptoms persist, then shoulder surgery may be considered.
This procedure is typically done through arthroscopy, in which scar tissue and adhesions in the shoulder joint are removed. A thin, lighted tube attached with a camera is used to help the shoulder surgeon visualise the structures better for more precise and effective outcomes.
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