Adhesive capsulitis or commonly known as “frozen shoulder” is the tightness, lack of use and the pain associated within the shoulder joint. Frozen shoulder can be caused by an injury or arthritis that then results in lack of use and loss of function. Injuries such as stroke, fractures, falls, or prolonged immobility after a shoulder surgery are examples of common causes. People over 40, particularly women, are more susceptible to adhesive capsulitis.

Physical therapy is the most common prescribed tool for improving adhesive capsulitis. Joint mobilizations, aggressive stretching, and range of motion exercise are techniques used during each session. Physicians may prescribe steroids or an injection into the joint for relief. In some cases, an orthopedic consult may be needed. An orthopedic surgeon would surgically clean the inside of the joint to remove arthritis, scar tissues, or tears and free the capsular space.

Preventive exercise can be beneficial. Contacting an experienced physical therapist is key. Physical therapy will guide the person through appropriate care. If suspicion of a frozen shoulder is occurring, range of motion exercise and joint mobilizations will be used.

Mayo Clinic Staff. (2018, July 20 2018). Frozen Shoulder. Retrieved from