Adhesive Capsulitis

What is Adhesive Capsulitis?

Better known as frozen shoulder, is a common source of shoulder pain and easily confused with a rotator cuff injury.

The term “adhesive” describes the fibrotic adhesion which presents as stiffness and “capsulitis” meaning inflammation of the joint capsule, which can be painful to patients.

What are the symptoms of Adhesive capsulitis?

  • General pain around shoulder, especially worse at night
  • General stiffness in the affected shoulder
  • Difficulty lifting arm to the side, behind your back and rotating it outwards.
Shoulder pain- Adhesive Capsulitis

Common causes

This issue affects 2-5% of the population and commonly presents in 40 to 60-year-olds. It is more prevalent in women (around 70%).

Unfortunately, there isn’t much known about why frozen shoulder occurs. The cause of it is highly debated in the medical community.

Co-morbidities such as diabetes, cardiac disease, thyroid conditions are risk factors of adhesive capsulitis.

Diagnosis & Treatment

Adhesive capsulitis is often diagnosed by case history, physical examination and an ultrasound imaging (not compulsory).

It’s important to note that it may often resolve itself over a period of time. This can range from 9 months to 3 years. Therefore, treatments are normally aimed at preserve your range of motion initially and improve on your shoulder function as it resolves itself.

Your osteopath will recommend a treatment plan which may include hands on manual therapy, dry needling, shockwave therapy and progressive loading exercises.

Due to the complexity of the condition and it’s slow healing nature, its best to get in contact with your osteopath or other registered health provider if you have any concerns regarding this condition.