Adhesive capsulitis or frozen shoulder syndrome is a disorder of the shoulder that results in marked stiffness and pain on attempts of motion.
Many patients will identify a specific event during which the problem started, but frequently it is a mild and surprisingly trivial event, like
reaching into the backseat of a car for a handbag. Most patients will recognize that the functional window in which the arm can move
progressively narrows to the point that even simple maneuvers can be very difficult. Tucking in a shirt, fastening a brassiere,
reaching for the seatbelt can be very difficult and even impossible with a frozen shoulder
Adhesive capsulitis occurs when the loose and pliable shoulder joint capsule tightens and contracts around the ball and socket joint.
This restricts the joint's ability to rotate and glide, and any attempt to move beyond this soft tissue restraint is met with sharp pain.
The most common group of patients in Dr. Routman's practice with adhesive capsulitis are perimenopausal females with usually left (non-dominant)
shoulder pain. Diabetics and patients with thyroid disorders are also prone to this condition. Idiopathic Adhesive Capsulitis occurs in
patients with no obvious reason to get the disorder.
Treatment consists of usually a comprehensive physical therapy program, usually incorporating water therapy at some point.
Injections and surgery are occasionally needed to help the patient overcome the stiffness.
Surgical intervention is usually an arthroscopic procedure.