An Overview on Frozen Shoulder (Adhesive Capsulitis)
Frozen shoulder, otherwise known as adhesive capsulitis, is a condition that can cause a large amount of shoulder discomfort and limited shoulder movement. In many cases, a “stiff shoulder” can result in a complete loss of function and motion of the shoulder joint. Orthopedic shoulder specialist in the Chicago, Westchester, Oak Brook and Hinsdale, Illinois area, Dr. Nikhil Verma is trained and highly experienced in treating frozen shoulder symptoms and returning patients to their daily activities.
Frozen shoulder develops when the soft tissue of the shoulder joint begins to thicken and contract as a result of the formation of scar tissue. The scar tissue, or adhesions, creates the loss of motion. Over time, the shoulder is moved less because of shoulder pain and stiffness becomes worse. The pain and loss of movement can become so severe in some cases that daily activities can become difficult to complete.
The two types of frozen shoulder:
- Primary adhesive capsulitis: This type occurs when a patient gradually experiences a slow loss of shoulder motion for no apparent reason. Possible causes include an inflammatory disease, changes in hormone levels or changes in the immune system. It may often be associated with diabetes or other endocrine disorders such as hypothyroid.
- Secondary adhesive capsulitis: This type occurs from a known cause such as following a shoulder injury, shoulder fracture or previous shoulder surgery.
Frozen Shoulder Symptoms
The hallmark frozen shoulder symptoms are inability to move the shoulder, shoulder weakness and pain. The pain is usually described by patients as a dull or achy sensation. The onset of symptoms may be gradual or sudden.
Frozen Shoulder Diagnosis
After discussing frozen shoulder symptoms and medical history, Dr. Verma will conduct a physical examination of the shoulder. He will move the shoulder in all directions to determine where pain and limited movement is present. An MRI or X-ray may be performed to determine if other conditions are present such as a broken bone, rotator cuff injury or shoulder arthritis.
Have you sustained a frozen shoulder injury?
There are two ways to initiate a consultation with Dr. Verma:
You can provide current X-rays and/or MRIs for a clinical case review with Dr. Verma ($250).
You can schedule an office consultation with Dr.
Frozen Shoulder Treatments
The focus of frozen shoulder treatment is to control pain and restore motion and strength.
Physical therapy plays a critical role in treating this shoulder condition. In addition to physical therapy, Dr. Verma will also recommend ice, rest and anti-inflammatory medications. Steroid injections may also be used in some cases. Non-surgical treatments typically take a few months to notice a decreased symptom level.
Dr. Verma will perform arthroscopic surgery if non-surgical treatments are not diminishing frozen shoulder symptoms. Arthroscopic shoulder surgery is used to release tight areas and then remove scar tissue around the shoulder to relieve pressure. Dr. Verma may recommend an open surgical approach in the most severe frozen shoulder cases. Following surgery, aggressive physical therapy is required to maintain motion along with home exercises for stretching.
Dr. Nikhil Verma is a Chicago, Westchester, Oak Brook and Hinsdale, Illinois area orthopedic shoulder specialist. For additional resources on frozen shoulder, please contact his office for a consultation.