Adhesive Capsulitis/Frozen Shoulder

Frozen Shoulder

Frozen shoulder, also known as adhesive capsulitis, is associated with stiffness and immobility in the shoulder joint. The upper arm is held in place by a capsule of connective tissue. As frozen shoulder develops, this capsule thickens and stiffens. While frozen shoulder can improve with time, it can severely disrupt activity levels and productivity.


There are a variety of factors that could lead to an individual developing frozen shoulder. In many cases, immobility can cause frozen shoulder which usually occurs during resting periods after a surgery or injury. Frozen shoulder can also develop due to underlying health conditions including diabetes, thyroid conditions, and cardiovascular complications.

  • Immobility
  • Age
  • Injury
  • Reduced motion

Nonsurgical Treatments

Upon diagnosis of frozen shoulder, a healthcare professional will usually recommend a handful of nonsurgical treatments. 

Some of these options include:

  • Over-the-counter medications to reduce pain
  • Physical therapy to strengthen the shoulder and improve flexibility
  • Steroid injections to relieve inflammation
  • Distension, or injection water into the frozen joint capsule to stretch the tissue and promote mobility


While shoulder pain could occur for a variety of reasons, there are a few signs that an individual is experiencing symptoms of frozen shoulder specifically. 

These symptoms include:

  • A gradual increase of stiffness that becomes worse over time
  • Pain and dull ache on the outside of the shoulder
  • Pain that gets worse at night

The symptoms of frozen shoulder can be similar to those of other shoulder problems. Therefore, it is important to see a doctor if the pain persists. 


Frozen shoulder typically develops in three stages; a freezing stage, a frozen stage, and a thawing stage. Sometimes, it is not noticeable until the thawing stage when the pain is most severe. However, it is recommended to meet with a healthcare professional earlier as they can set up an effective treatment plan. 

During a diagnosis, the healthcare professional will begin with a review of the patient’s medical history followed by questions about the symptoms they are experiencing. After this, they will perform a hands-on evaluation to test the patient’s range of motion and determine the location of the pain. Finally, the healthcare professional will arrange an MRI or an X-ray to confirm a diagnosis.

When is Surgery Necessary?

If there is excessive scar tissue and there continues to be a pain, a surgeon may recommend a minimally invasive procedure to remove it. The healthcare professionals at BEST Health System are there to ensure that each patient receives the best procedure for their specific injury. 

Reach Out to BEST Health System Today

If you’re living with shoulder pain, call BEST Health System today. We can connect you to a location near you and from there our highly skilled medical team will help you develop a personalized treatment plan to get you back to the people and activities you love as soon as possible.

If you have experienced any of these symptoms or recieved a diagnosis and need treatment, BEST can help. Take the first step towards relief today.

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