Summer Fun in RecoveryAdhesive capsulitis, more commonly known as frozen shoulder, is a condition that can be frustrating, painful, and even debilitating for those who experience it. These common shoulder injuries typically affect individuals between the ages of 40 and 60 years old, but can also occur in younger people.

But what is frozen shoulder? What causes it, and how can one relieve symptoms of shoulder pain and discomfort?

Located in the heart of Nashville, TN, Pinnacle Surgical Orthopedics, led by the expert and compassionate orthopedic surgeon Dr. Sean Kaminsky, is your go-to destination for superior orthopedic care. We're here to shed light on frozen shoulder and the cutting-edge treatments we offer to help you regain mobility and live a pain-free life.

Here's what every patient should know about spotting and treating a frozen shoulder joint:

Understanding Frozen Shoulder

Frozen shoulder, or adhesive capsulitis, is a condition characterized by stiffness and pain in your shoulder joint. It occurs when the connective tissue surrounding the ball and socket joint of the shoulder becomes thickened and inflamed, often causing the shoulder tissue to become tight or 'frozen.' This gradual stiffening of the shoulder blade can reduce mobility in the upper arm and cause significant discomfort.

Identifying Frozen Shoulder Symptoms

If you're experiencing a frozen shoulder, you may notice one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Persistent pain in your shoulder, particularly when lifting your arm or moving it away from your body.
  • A progressive stiffness in your shoulder joint that limits your range of motion.
  • Difficulty in performing daily activities such as dressing, cooking, or driving due to the shoulder discomfort.
  • Disturbed sleep due to shoulder pain, particularly when sleeping on the affected side.
  • Non-surgical Treatments
  • Surgical Treatments

These symptoms can develop slowly and may progress through three stages:

  • Freezing stage: In this initial stage, which can last from 6 weeks to 9 months, you might notice a gradual increase in pain and a decrease in the range of motion of your shoulder. The pain often gets worse at night.
  • Frozen stage: Pain may begin to diminish during this stage, but your shoulder becomes stiffer and its use becomes more difficult. This stage typically lasts 4-6 months.
  • Thawing stage: In the final stage, shoulder movement slowly improves, and eventually, returns to normal or close to normal. This stage can last anywhere from 6 months to 2 years.

These symptoms may be a sign that it's time to consult a shoulder specialist like Dr. Kaminsky at Pinnacle Surgical Orthopedics.

Causes of Frozen Shoulder

Certain groups of people are more prone to developing a frozen shoulder. As mentioned earlier, individuals between 40 and 60 years old are most commonly affected.

But why is this the case?

As we age, the loose shoulder tissue or the capsule that surrounds the socket joint can start to thicken or contract, making the shoulder less flexible. This, coupled with wear and tear from daily activities, can lead to a frozen shoulder. It's also worth noting that this condition is more common in women than in men, and people with certain medical conditions like diabetes are at a higher risk.

Additionally, orthopedic sports medicine experts believe that repetitive shoulder injuries can also contribute to the development of a frozen shoulder. This is due to the scar tissue that forms in response to an injury, which can limit shoulder movement and lead to stiffness over time.

Treating Adhesive Capsulitis at Pinnacle Surgical Orthopedics

Dr. Sean Kaminsky and the team at Pinnacle Surgical Orthopedics are dedicated to providing effective treatment strategies for adhesive capsulitis that offer long-term pain relief and improved range of motion.

  • Non-surgical Treatments

    Non-surgical treatments are typically the first line of defense against frozen shoulder. They aim at reducing inflammation, addressing pain, and improving shoulder mobility.

    • Physical Therapy: Regular sessions with a physical therapist can help restore flexibility and strength in the shoulder joint. The therapist will guide you through a series of exercises tailored to your condition. Dr. Kaminsky’s shoulder therapy team successfully treats thousands of patients each year.
    • Medications: Over-the-counter pain relievers and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can help reduce pain and inflammation. In some severe cases, Dr. Kaminsky might recommend stronger prescription medications.
    • Corticosteroid Injections: If physical therapy and medications are not providing sufficient relief, corticosteroid injections can be administered directly to the shoulder joint to help decrease inflammation and alleviate pain.
  • Surgical Treatments

    In cases where non-surgical treatments do not provide the desired results or the condition is severe, surgical intervention may be required.

    • Arthroscopic Capsular Release: This minimally invasive, 30-minute procedure involves Dr. Kaminsky making small incisions in the shoulder and using a tiny camera (arthroscope) to guide a small instrument to cut through the tight portions of the joint capsule. This way, Dr. Kaminsky will release and remove the inflamed and thickened tissue, restoring your range of motion.

Choosing the right treatment option depends on the severity of the symptoms, your overall health, and your specific needs. Dr. Kaminsky will guide you through the decision-making process, carefully considering all factors to offer the best solution for long-term pain relief.

Will You Need Orthopaedic Surgery?

While non-surgical treatments are often successful in treating adhesive capsulitis, there are instances where shoulder surgery may be necessary. If you've exhausted non-surgical options yet still experience severe pain and limited range of motion, Dr. Kaminsky may recommend orthopedic surgery.

Particularly, if the condition is affecting your quality of life, hindering your ability to perform daily activities, or if you have not experienced significant improvement after six months of non-surgical treatment, surgical intervention may be the most effective course of action.

Dr. Kaminsky, a seasoned surgeon for shoulder conditions, will discuss with you the pros and cons of surgery, as well as what to expect during and after the operation.

Visit Nashville's Top Orthopedic Shoulder Surgeons

If you're experiencing shoulder pain, stiffness, or decreased range of motion, don't wait to seek help. Reach out to our expert team at Pinnacle Surgical Orthopedics.

Led by Dr. Sean Kaminsky, our orthopedic surgeons are here to provide compassionate and effective treatment strategies tailored to your condition. Remember, an early diagnosis can make all the difference when it comes to successful treatment.

Don't suffer in silence—schedule a consultation with us today.