Frozen Shoulder Treatment in Kirkland, WA

Frozen shoulder or adhesive capsulitis results in a painful stiff shoulder. This condition usually occurs in people between the ages of 40 and 60. It is more common in women and people with diabetes and thyroid disease. It also can occur as a result of trauma or immobilization of the shoulder.

What is Frozen Shoulder?

Adhesive capsulitis, or frozen shoulder, begins with inflammation in the lining of the shoulder joint. The first symptom is pain, and as the pain worsens loss of motion occurs. This stage usually lasts 6 weeks to several months. After this period, the frozen stage occurs. During this stage, there is less inflammation, but the lining of the shoulder joint becomes thickened and scarred.  This means there is less pain, but worsened stiffness.  After several months the thawing stage begins. During this stage, gradual improvement in motion and function occurs. The entire process can take about 2 years.

Frozen Shoulder Treatment by Dr. Clinton

If Treated Early

Treatment of frozen shoulder, or adhesive capsulitis, varies depending on the stage. In the initial freezing stage, oral anti-inflammatory medications and sometimes cortisone injections can be helpful in decreasing the inflammation. Physical therapy is then used to stretch the shoulder to help improve and maintain range of motion. When frozen shoulder is diagnosed and treated in this early stage, pain and function can often be regained quickly.

If Treated Later On

Once the frozen stage has begun, anti-inflammatories and cortisone injections are often less helpful. In addition, the dense scar that has formed in the joint is often resistant to physical therapy. If range of motion does not improve with stretching and PT and the patient does not want to wait for “thawing” to occur, then an arthroscopic surgery can be done to release the capsule and/or the shoulder can be manipulated under anesthesia to break up scar tissue. These treatments are then followed by physical therapy to maintain motion.

Schedule an Appointment

Identifying frozen shoulder early is key to a quick recovery.  Dr. Clinton is a fellowship- trained board certified orthopedic surgeon with extensive experience diagnosing and treating shoulder issues. Call (425) 823-4000 to schedule an appointment today!

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