Frozen Shoulder in Miami, FL

The Advanced Neuro and Spine Institute specializes in the diagnosis, treatment, and management of orthopedic conditions and diseases such as frozen shoulder. Our team of experts delivers the latest advances in personalized, comprehensive care to patients in our conveniently located clinics in Aventura, Kendall, Hialeah, and Fort Lauderdale.

What is Frozen Shoulder?

Frozen shoulder (adhesive capsulitis) is a condition that causes pain and increasing stiffness in the shoulder joint, with the shoulder becoming completely immobilized over time. The telltale sign of this condition is the inability to move the shoulder, even with the assistance of someone else.

The shoulder is a ball-and-socket joint composed of three bones: the humerus, or upper arm bone; the scapula, or shoulder blade; and the clavicle, or collarbone. The head of the humerus fits into a shallow socket in the shoulder blade and is surrounded by strong connective tissue called the shoulder capsule. To facilitate movement of the shoulder joint, synovial fluid normally lubricates and cushions the shoulder capsule and joint. With the frozen shoulder condition, the shoulder capsule thickens and tightens, due to stiff bands of scar tissue that develop around the area, reducing the flow of synovial fluid to the joint, and thus causing friction and pain.

Frozen shoulder affects roughly 2% of the general population between the ages of 40 and 60, with women being more susceptible to this condition than men.

What are the Causes and Symptoms of Frozen Shoulder?

The causes of frozen shoulder are not fully understood, although it has been established that some lifestyle factors may increase your risk of developing this condition. Typically, your chances of developing frozen shoulder increase when recovering from a medical condition, or procedure, that has immobilized the arm, such as a stroke, fracture, an injury to the arm, or a mastectomy.

For unknown reasons, diabetes appears to increase the likelihood of developing frozen shoulder. It’s estimated that 10% to 20% of diabetics suffer from frozen shoulder. Other diseases and medical conditions associated with frozen shoulder include hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, Parkinson’s disease, and cardiac disease.

Symptoms of frozen shoulder typically begin gradually, worsening over time, and then usually resolving itself within one to three years. The pain caused by frozen shoulder is usually dull, or aching, and is worse during the early stages of the disease. The most common areas of pain are over the outer shoulder and the outer upper arm.

Frozen shoulder typically develops in three stages:

  • Freezing: In the early “freezing” stage, pain increases slowly, and the range of motion is gradually lost. This period typically lasts from 1-1/2 to 9 months.
  • Frozen: During the second “frozen” stage, the pain may actually diminish, but stiffness continues to increase, making daily activities more and more difficult. This period may last about 4 to 6 months.
  • Thawing: During the final “thawing” stage, mobility in the shoulder joint slowly improves either on its own or as a result of treatment. A full return to the normal range of motion typically takes from 6 to 24 months.

How is Frozen Shoulder Treated?

Frozen shoulder treatment includes physical therapy, focusing on gentle range-of-motion exercises; occasionally, medications are injected into the joint capsule. In a small number of cases, arthroscopic surgery may be required to loosen the joint capsule and restore mobility to the shoulder joint.

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If you would like more information on frozen shoulder treatment, please contact one of our conveniently located clinics in Aventura, Kendall, Hialeah, and Fort Lauderdale.

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