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Adhesive Capsulitis Treatment Options

What is adhesive capsulitis?

Adhesive capsulitis, commonly known as frozen shoulder, is a debilitating condition characterized by pain and stiffness in the shoulder joint. The shoulder capsule thickens and tightens, limiting mobility and causing discomfort. While the exact cause remains unclear, factors such as injury, immobility, and underlying medical conditions may contribute to its development. Symptoms often progress through stages of freezing, frozen, and thawing, with gradual improvement over time. Treatment typically involves a combination of conservative measures such as physical therapy and medication, with surgical intervention reserved for severe cases. Rehabilitation plays a crucial role in restoring shoulder function and preventing recurrence. Early diagnosis and intervention are key to managing adhesive capsulitis effectively and restoring pain-free mobility.

How is adhesive capsulitis treated?

Treatment for adhesive capsulitis aims to alleviate pain, improve shoulder mobility, and restore function. The chosen treatment approach may vary depending on the severity of symptoms and individual patient factors. Common treatment options include:

What non-operative options are available?

Conservative treatments such as physical therapy, stretching exercises, and anti-inflammatory medications may be recommended initially to alleviate symptoms and improve shoulder mobility.

Intra-articular Injections: Corticosteroid injections into the shoulder joint can help reduce inflammation and alleviate pain, providing temporary relief for some patients.

What operative options are available?

In cases where conservative treatments fail to provide adequate relief, surgical intervention may be considered. Procedures such as manipulation under anesthesia or arthroscopic capsular release may be performed to release tightness and improve shoulder mobility.

What does rehabilitation look like?

Following treatment, rehabilitation plays a crucial role in optimizing shoulder function and preventing recurrence. Dr. Shane J. Nho and your physical therapist will work collaboratively to develop a personalized rehabilitation program tailored to your specific needs. This program may include:

  • Range of Motion Exercises: Gradual introduction of shoulder movements to improve flexibility and reduce stiffness.
  • Strengthening Exercises: Progressive exercises targeting the muscles surrounding the shoulder joint to improve stability and function.
  • Manual Therapy: Hands-on techniques such as massage or mobilization to improve joint mobility and tissue flexibility.
  • Patient Education: Guidance on proper posture, ergonomic principles, and activity modification to prevent re-injury and promote long-term shoulder health.

In conclusion, adhesive capsulitis can significantly impact shoulder function and quality of life, but with proper diagnosis and treatment, most individuals can experience significant improvement in symptoms. Whether through conservative measures or surgical intervention, the goal is to restore pain-free shoulder mobility and help you return to your daily activities and hobbies.

Dr. Shane J. Nho is a board-certified fellowship-trained sports medicine orthopaedic surgeon specializing in the treatment of adhesive capsulitis. If you believe you are affected by frozen shoulder, schedule a consultation today with our experienced orthopaedic care team.

At a Glance

Dr. Shane Nho

  • Board-certified, fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeon
  • Team Physician for Chicago Bulls, White Sox, Steel
  • Performs more than 700 procedures each year
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