Adhesive Capsulitis/ Frozen Shoulder-In frozen shoulder, the shoulder capsule thickens and becomes stiff and tight. Thick bands of tissue — called adhesions — develop. In many cases, there is less synovial fluid in the joint.
The hallmark signs of this condition are severe pain and being unable to move the shoulder.
It develops in three stages:
- Stage 1: Freezing In the “freezing” stage, you slowly have more and more pain. As the pain worsens, your shoulder loses range of motion. Freezing typically lasts from 6 weeks to 9 months.
- Stage 2: Frozen Painful symptoms may actually improve during this stage, but the stiffness remains. During the 4 to 6 months of the “frozen” stage, daily activities may be very difficult.
- Stage 3: Thawing Shoulder motion slowly improves during the “thawing” stage. Complete return to normal or close to normal strength and motion typically takes from 6 months to 2 years.
The causes of frozen shoulder are not fully understood. A few factors may put you more at risk for developing frozen shoulder.
Diabetes – Frozen shoulder occurs much more often in people with diabetes. The reason for this is not known. In addition, diabetic patients with frozen shoulder tend to have a greater degree of stiffness that continues for a long time before “thawing.”
Other diseases – Some additional medical problems associated with frozen shoulder include hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, Parkinson’s disease, and cardiac disease.
Immobilization – Frozen shoulder can develop after a shoulder has been immobilized for a period of time due to surgery, a fracture, or other injuries. Having patients move their shoulders soon after injury or surgery is one measure prescribed to prevent frozen shoulder.