Frozen Shoulder or Adhesive Capsulitis of Shoulder as is technically called, is an inflammatory disorder of the shoulder joint capsule. It produces global restriction of shoulder movements. Most patients in their 30’s to 50’s age often present as progressive pain and stiffness of the shoulder joint, which starts as a painful shoulder and later produces stiffness. Usually the symptoms range from weeks to months. Usually, patients do not remember any precipitating event before the start of symptoms.
Diabetics are the worst hit. Although, it may occur in any individual, patients with Uncontrolled Diabetes Mellitus tend to suffer more often.
Frozen shoulder is a self limiting disorder; unless associated with another pathology. It has three distinct phases, characterized by pain, stiffness and then resolution of symptoms. The typical duration of phases is 3-6 months. Because Frozen shoulder or Adhesive capsulitis is a self- limiting disease, the treatment is directed at supportive care.
Most patients respond well to a short course of anti-inflammatory medication in the painful phase. This is the phase which is most troublesome. In the stiffness phase, aggressive physiotherapy may be started to improve shoulder range of movements. In some patients who do not respond to physiotherapy, manipulation of shoulder under anaesthesia may be performed. This is done after injecting the shoulder with local anaesthetic solution and physiological saline. Shoulder arthroscopy is another options for patients suffering with recurrent adhesions and shoulder stiffness.