Adhesive Capsulitis (Frozen Shoulder) Care

Our orthopedic specialists provide personal attention and leading-edge adhesive capsulitis (frozen shoulder) treatment.

Adhesive Capsulitis (Frozen Shoulder) Care

Our orthopedic specialists provide personal attention and leading-edge adhesive capsulitis (frozen shoulder) treatment.

Relief from Frozen Shoulder Pain

Adhesive capsulitis, or frozen shoulder, is a condition that causes shoulder joint pain and stiffness. It happens when the connective tissue around the shoulder joint swells and stiffens, creating tight bands called adhesions. Because it causes pain during shoulder movement, you move your shoulder less, making the joint even tighter — “freezing” the shoulder in place. 

Our orthopedic and sports medicine specialists offer advanced adhesive capsulitis treatment to relieve shoulder pain and stiffness. We offer a full range of therapies, from nonsurgical pain management approaches to minimally invasive frozen shoulder surgery. 

Four Stages of Frozen Shoulder

Anything that stops you from moving your shoulder — such as pain, surgery or wearing a sling or cast, when you break your arm — can increase your risk of adhesive capsulitis. Certain health conditions, like diabetes, stroke, heart disease, thyroid disease and Parkinson’s disease, can also raise your risk. Frozen shoulder is most common in adults over 40, and it’s more common in women than men. 

Adhesive capsulitis symptoms develop slowly and get worse. The condition develops in stages, over several months: 

  • Prefreezing Shoulder movement causes sharp pain, and your shoulder aches even when you’re not using it. This stage can last one to three months. 
  • Freezing – It’s even more difficult to move your shoulder, and you experience more pain, particularly at night. This stage can last up to nine months. 
  • Frozen – Shoulder stiffness increases, but the pain doesn’t get worse — it may even improve. This stage can last up to 14 months. 
  • Thawing – After you’ve had symptoms for a year, you start experiencing less pain — especially at night — and you gradually regain shoulder range of motion. This stage can last more than a year. 

Adhesive capsulitis is sometimes confused with calcific tendonitis of the shoulder, but they’re different. Calcific tendonitis involves a buildup of calcium deposits in your tendons that causes swelling and pain but not loss of motion, whereas frozen shoulder causes pain and stiffness (loss of motion).  

Adhesive Capsulitis Treatments 

Typically, frozen shoulder heals within two years without treatment. But, many people find they can’t live with the pain and limited use of their shoulder and decide to get treatment. 

Keck Medicine of USC offers a full range of frozen shoulder treatments, including: 

We develop a personalized treatment program to ensure shoulder pain and stiffness don’t keep you from feeling your best.  

Advanced Frozen Shoulder Treatment

Our doctors work with physical therapy specialists to improve your shoulder movement and strength and reduce frozen shoulder pain.

We offer complete care to relieve shoulder pain and stiffness, including nonsurgical and minimally invasive treatments.

Your treatment is managed by the same trusted doctors who care for USC athletes and the LA Kings hockey team.

Our physicians are ranked as “Top Doctors” by Los Angeles magazine and Pasadena magazine.

Latest News & Articles