“Frozen Shoulder”, or Adhesive Capsulitis, as it is clinically named, occurs in about 5 percent of the population. It typically affects people over 45 – and women more than men. The condition is characterized by a stiffening or lessoned mobility of one or both of the shoulders.
There can be a variety of causes for the stiffening including scar tissue, inflammation or an autoimmune disorder. Injuries such as from a rotator cuff tear or post-surgical scarring can lead to adhesive capsulitis. Conditions like arthritis or synovitis (inflammation of the joint lining) also can lead to the syndrome.
Adhesive capsulitis typically presents with pain that increases over time resulting in a loss of movement. The progression is typically defined in four stages which can from discomfort with movement to a dramatic loss in mobility that affects everyday activities. A physical therapist can evaluate a patient with adhesive capsulitis and determine the stage and can develop a therapy plan to restore motion.