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By Brian M. Torpey, MD, FACS


Frozen Shoulder, also known as adhesive capsulitis, is a phenomenon that can occur in men and women usually between the ages of 30-60.  Frozen shoulder frequently develops without any apparent cause, however, less commonly it can occur as a result of an injury.  Nevertheless, when frozen shoulder occurs the patient begins to experience difficulty moving their arm.  They usually find that overhead motions or reaching behind them are very painful.  An example of this would be sharp pain when reaching for something in a back seat while driving in a car.  Another problem that presents itself is loss of motion.  The patient has difficulty reaching, such as into their back pocket.  Eventually, the pain becomes so bad that it affects them at night and they have difficulty doing common things such as brushing their hair or even their teeth.  Fortunately, frozen shoulder is very easily diagnosed because most patients have a very definite “end point” when lifting their arm away from their body.  The common course of conservative treatment is physical therapy, anti-inflammatory medications, pain medications and sometimes injections.  Fortunately, in the end, this treatment plan usually cures this sometimes frustrating, but treatable problem.