Occurring in approximately two percent of the population, or around three million people per year, frozen shoulder is a common condition that causes pain, stiffness, and immobility in the shoulder joint. Although not linked with any specific occupation or activity, frozen shoulder generally affects women more often than men and has a higher rate of incidence if you’re between the ages of 40 and 60. Frozen shoulder can significantly diminish your ability to perform both simple and complex movements. Furthermore, this condition may take years to resolve, potentially longer if left untreated.
At Towson Orthopaedic Associates, our extensively trained orthopaedic surgeons understand how important restoring function and comfort to the shoulder can be, and we will develop a customized treatment plan that addresses your unique needs to optimize your outcome.
If you’re experiencing discomfort due to frozen shoulder, we can help. Contact us today for more information about this condition or to schedule a consultation with one of our board-certified physicians.
What Is Frozen Shoulder?
Frozen shoulder, medically referred to as adhesive capsulitis, occurs when the tissue surrounding the shoulder joint becomes stiff and inflamed, causing discomfort and reduced mobility. The shoulder joint is located within a tissue capsule where the upper arm bone (humerus) meets the collarbone (clavicle) and shoulder blade (scapula). This capsule is the area where inflammation, tightness, and discomfort originate. Some of the symptoms of frozen shoulder include a dull or aching pain in the outer shoulder and upper arm, which may worsen as the condition progresses or when you move your arm.
Non-Surgical Options for Frozen Shoulder
While there is no known cause, there are several risk factors that can contribute to the development of frozen shoulder, which include diabetes, thyroid problems, cervical disk disease of the neck, and injury to or surgery on the shoulder. Frozen shoulder can often heal without medical intervention and surgery is rarely required; however, allowing the condition to resolve on its own may take up to three years or more. With physical therapy, anti-inflammatory medications, and steroid injections, pain typically can be controlled and motion preserved. Our shoulder specialists will detail the minimally invasive treatment options that can optimize your outcome and return you to normal activity as quickly and as safely as possible.
Surgical Options for Frozen Shoulder
In approximately 90 percent of cases, frozen shoulder can be effectively treated with non-surgical methods, patience, and time. However, if minimally invasive options can’t relieve your pain successfully, your physician may recommend surgery. We will utilize the most advanced arthroscopic techniques available to help remove scar tissue, loosen tight ligaments, and alleviate pain. Following the operation, physical therapy typically will be an essential part of the recovery process.