Adhesive capsulitis - aftercare; Frozen shoulder syndrome - aftercare
A frozen shoulder is shoulder pain that prevents you from moving your arm. Often the pain and stiffness are present all the time.
The capsule of the shoulder joint is made of strong tissue (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. This condition is called frozen shoulder.
Frozen shoulder may develop with no known cause. It can also occur in people who:
The symptoms of frozen shoulder often follow this pattern:
It can take a few months to go through these stages of frozen shoulder. The shoulder can get very painful and stiff before it starts to loosen. And it may take as long as 18 to 24 months for complete healing. To help speed healing, your health care provider will:
Your provider may also advise you to have a steroid shot. This medicine can reduce inflammation and make you more comfortable. The medicine is injected into your shoulder joint.
Most people have a full recovery with full range of motion without surgery.
Using moist heat on your shoulder 3 to 4 times a day may help relieve some pain and stiffness.
For pain, you can use ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn), or acetaminophen (Tylenol). You can buy these pain medicines at the store.
Get help setting up your home so that you can get to everything you need without reaching above your shoulders or behind your back.
Get help with housecleaning, taking out the garbage, gardening, and other household tasks.
You will learn some simple exercises and stretches for your shoulder.
Some of the exercises are:
Your health care provider, nurse, or rehabilitation therapist will show you how to do these exercises.
Call your doctor if:
Krabak BJ, Banks NL. Adhesive capsulitis. In: Frontera WR, Silver JK, eds. Essentials of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. 2nd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders;2008:chap 10.
Updated by: C. Benjamin Ma, MD, Assistant Professor, Chief, Sports Medicine and Shoulder Service, UCSF Department of Orthopaedic Surgery. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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