Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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Adhesive Capsulitis Overview

What is adhesive capsulitis?
A person with adhesive capsulitis has chronic inflammation of the tissue that surrounds the shoulder joint. The inflammation results in scarring.

What are the symptoms of adhesive capsulitis?
Common symptoms of adhesive capsulitis include shoulder pain, shoulder stiffness, and decreased range of motion in the shoulder joint. A person with adhesive capsulitis is unable to raise the hand above the head.

How does the doctor treat adhesive capsulitis?
Treatment for adhesive capsulitis may include nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications, narcotic pain medications, and corticosteroids. A longer course of physical therapy is usually required to restore normal range of motion. Treatment for severe adhesive capsulitis may include shoulder surgery.

Continue to Adhesive Capsulitis Incidence

Last Updated: Aug 23, 2010 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Adhesive Capsulitis References
  1. Berghs BM, Sole-Molins X, Bunker TD. Arthroscopic release of adhesive capsulitis. J Shoulder Elbow Surg. 2004 Mar-Apr;13(2):180-5. [14997096]
  2. Buchbinder R, Hoving JL, Green S, Hall S, Forbes A, Nash P. Short course prednisolone for adhesive capsulitis (frozen shoulder or stiff painful shoulder): a randomised, double blind, placebo controlled trial. Ann Rheum Dis. 2004 Nov;63(11):1460-9. [15479896]
  3. Callinan N, McPherson S, Cleaveland S, Voss DG, Rainville D, Tokar N. Effectiveness of hydroplasty and therapeutic exercise for treatment of frozen shoulder. J Hand Ther. 2003 Jul-Sep;16(3):219-24. [12943124]
  4. Cutts S, Clarke D. The patient with frozen shoulder. Practitioner. 2002 Nov;246(1640):730, 734-6, 738-9. [12452117]
  5. Fitzpatrick MJ, Powell SE, Tibone JE, Warren RF. The anatomy, pathology, and definitive treatment of rotator interval lesions: current concepts. Arthroscopy. 2003 Dec;19 Suppl 1:70-9. [14673422]
  6. Green S, Buchbinder R, Hetrick S. Physiotherapy interventions for shoulder pain. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2003;(2):CD004258. [12804509]
  7. Tallia AF, Cardone DA. Diagnostic and therapeutic injection of the shoulder region. Am Fam Physician. 2003 Mar 15;67(6):1271-8. [12674455]
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