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Frozen Shoulder Treatment

When the soft tissues within the shoulder joint become swollen or tight, it can restrict movement of the arm and hand. This shoulder condition is called frozen shoulder, or adhesive capsulitis, a frustrating and debilitating disorder. Due to the way the shoulder is designed, the soft tissues can constrict the bones and joints, resulting in minimal movement. At Jonathan L. Glashow, MD orthopedic surgery center, we perform frozen shoulder treatment at our location in Miami, FL.

What Causes Adhesive Capsulitis?

The main shoulder joint is a ball-and-socket joint that has a capsule that forms around the head or ball of the upper arm bone. Ligaments, tendons and cartilage all encompass the proximal humerus head. Unlike most joints that have ligaments and tendons surrounding the joint, the shoulder has these tissues trapped between the humerus and shoulder blade socket (glenoid). If these tissues are swollen or expanded, it can restrict the movement of the “capsule.” This can occur due to:

  • Injury to the rotator cuff or ligaments
  • Scar tissue forming within the shoulder joint
  • Restricted movement for a lengthy period of time

Sometimes the cause of frozen shoulder is unknown, but it usually occurs after an injury. Immobilizing the arm and shoulder after surgery or injury treatment can result in adhesive capsulitis.

Symptoms of Frozen Shoulder

The symptoms of adhesive capsulitis usually begin slowly or may not be noticeable if the arm and shoulder are immobilized. Over a few months, the symptoms can become worse, resulting in pain and stiffness in the shoulder. One of the telltale signs of a frozen shoulder is the inability to lift the arm above the height of the shoulder – it can be difficult or almost impossible to touch your head with that hand.

A frozen shoulder can get better on its own, but it takes time. In some cases, it may be years, and recovery is not guaranteed. Treatment is recommended to hasten recovery and improve the chances of full use of the arm and shoulder. This can include using medications and physical therapy to loosen and strengthen the shoulder. In extreme cases, surgery may be required if there is a physical restriction within the shoulder joint.

If you have a frozen shoulder and want to explore treatment for relief, come see us at Jonathan L. Glashow, MD orthopedic surgery center. Contact our office in the Miami, Fort Lauderdale and Palm Beach, FL, area to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced orthopedists.

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