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Frozen Shoulder

Frozen shoulder is one of the most painful conditions that effects the shoulder. It may occur after minor injury or overuse, or it may appear totally spontaneously.

Frozen shoulder has two phases. During the “hot” phase, a patient experiences severe pain and stiffness. The pain is severe enough to disrupt sleep and other activities. Eventually, the condition enters a “cold” phase where the pain resolves, but the stiffness remains.

Diagnosis

Frozen shoulder is often mistaken for a rotator cuff injury. Both problems effect how high over the head the arm can be raised. However, with a rotator cuff injury, the arm can be raised completely if someone helps to move the arm. With a frozen shoulder, the arm will not raise very high, even with assistance.

MRIs and X-Rays are not useful for diagnosing frozen shoulder.

Treatment

If left untreated, most cases of frozen shoulder will resolve slowly over a period of one to three years.

The appropriate physical therapy is an effective treatment in 95% of cases.

If necessary, an injection into the shoulder can be done to help relieve the pain.

Manipulation of the shoulder under anesthesia can be done in cases that do not respond to physical therapy.

Eventually, most people recover from this problem although they may have some loss of motion in that arm.

Below is a video of the inside of the shoulder after manipulation under anesthesia.