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What is frozen shoulder?

Frozen shoulder, or adhesive capsulitis, occurs when your shoulder joint stiffens over time, leading to pain and reduced mobility. The symptoms of frozen shoulder are broken into three stages:

  • The freezing stage, where shoulder movement causes you pain and your range of motion diminishes
  • The frozen stage, where your arm becomes even stiffer and range of motion diminishes further
  • The thawing stage, where your arm recovers movement

What causes frozen shoulder?

Your shoulder is made up of several moving parts encased in a connective tissue. When this connective tissue thickens, it tightens around the shoulder joint and restricts movement. Although there isn’t an exact known cause for frozen shoulder, it’s associated with periods of immobility in the shoulder region.

Who is at risk for frozen shoulder?

You’re most likely to develop frozen shoulder if you’re currently recovering from a condition that restricts the movement in your shoulder, such as a broken arm, stroke, or recovery from surgery.

Aside from immobility, there are a few factors that put you at greater risk for frozen shoulder. People over the age of 40 are more likely to develop frozen shoulder and women more so than men. There are also certain diseases that seem to make you more susceptible to frozen shoulder, including:

  • Tuberculosis
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Thyroid issues
  • Diabetes

How is frozen shoulder treated?

Frozen shoulder rarely requires surgery for correction and will typically resolve on its own within a little over a year. Preserving your range of movement during that time is important, so Dr. Gombera may assign a physical therapist to help you exercise your arm during recovery.

If you find pain problematic during recovery, you can take over-the-counter medication like ibuprofen to reduce pain and inflammation.

If your frozen shoulder doesn’t seem to be getting better on its own, Dr. Gombera may suggest medical procedures such as steroid injections, shoulder manipulation, or even arthroscopic surgery to remove scar tissue.

If you think you have frozen shoulder and it doesn’t seem to be getting better, contact Fix My Shoulder in Houston to schedule an appointment or book your consultation online.

  • American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
  • American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine
  • Arthroscopy Association of North America
  • American Shoulder And Elbow Surgeons