Definition of Frozen shoulder
Frozen shoulder is when the shoulder is painful and loses motion because of inflammation.
Causes, incidence, and risk factors
The joint capsule of the shoulder joint has ligaments that hold the shoulder bones to each other. When the capsule becomes inflamed, the shoulder bones are unable to move freely in the joint.
The main symptoms are:
Signs and tests
The health care provider will make the diagnosis based on your symptoms and an examination of your shoulder. You will have a loss of rotation in your shoulder.
Pain is treated with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) and steroid injections. Steroid injections plus physical therapy can improve your motion.
Treatment with therapy and NSAIDs will usually return the motion and function of the shoulder within a year. Even if left untreated, the frozen shoulder can get better by itself in 24 months.
Linda Vorvick, MD, Medical Director, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington School of Medicine; and C. Benjamin Ma, MD, Assistant Professor, Chief, Sports Medicine and Shoulder Service, UCSF Dept. of Orthopaedic Surgery. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc. – 10/31/2010