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Frozen shoulder (adhesive capsulitis)

A 'frozen' shoulder (or adhesive capsulitis) is where the joint capsule tightens, which stops you moving it.

We don’t know why this happens, though it sometimes follows an injury, a heart attack or stroke, and it’s more common in people with diabetes. The condition will usually resolve itself in time but it may take as long as two to three years.

A frozen shoulder can cause severe pain, especially at night, and you may experience sudden muscle pains, called muscle spasms. You may need painkillers to help deal with this.

A large volume injection into the shoulder, called a volume hydrodilatation, can help. Physiotherapy or a steroid injection into your shoulder may also be helpful.

Most people with a frozen shoulder recover fully without surgery. But if you don't fully regain the movement in your shoulder you may need keyhole surgery to release the capsule and/or manipulation under a general anaesthetic.

You'll need to follow a programme of physiotherapy to reduce the risk of the problem returning and to fully restore your movement.


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