Frozen shoulder, also known as adhesive capsulitis, or “sticky inflammation” occurs when a capsule forms and tightens around the shoulder joint causing pain and restriction of movement. It is a common complication of a rotator cuff tear or broken arm. Certain diseases can also increase your likelihood of developing a frozen shoulder: diabetes, hyperthyroid, hypothyroid, cardiovascular disease and tuberculosis and if you're recovering from a medical condition or procedure that prevents you from moving your arm—such as a stroke or a mastectomy.

It typically develops slowly with three stages and occurs on one side, most often in the 40 plus age group:

  • Freezing stage – Any movement of your shoulder causes pain, and your shoulder's range of motion starts to become limited.
  • Frozen stage – Pain may begin to diminish during this stage. However, your shoulder becomes stiffer, and using it becomes more difficult.
  • Thawing stage – The range of motion in your shoulder begins to improve.

Frozen shoulder is usually managed with surgery only after nonsurgical treatment has failed.

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