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What’s the Best Treatment for Frozen Shoulder

Your shoulders are elaborate ball and socket joints, surrounded by a connective tissue band called the shoulder capsule. A frozen shoulder, clinically called adhesive capsulitis, is one of the many issues that cause shoulder pain and interfere with your mobility. 

A frozen shoulder develops when your shoulder capsule becomes thick, stiff, and tight. Bands of tissue called adhesions grow, and you have less of the synovial fluid that keeps your joints lubricated. 

As a result, your shoulder hurts, and you lose your range of motion. As your frozen shoulder worsens, you might have trouble completing day-to-day tasks like getting dressed, brushing your teeth, or driving. 

If you think you have a frozen shoulder, our talented orthopedic surgeons at Arizona Center for Hand to Shoulder Surgery in Phoenix and Mesa, Arizona, can help. We offer state-of-the-art diagnostics and expert treatments to help your shoulder heal and restore your range of motion. 

Frozen shoulder treatments

Following a thorough exam to confirm your diagnosis, our expert orthopedists create a customized treatment plan to heal your shoulder and restore your range of motion. We usually begin with conservative treatments before recommending surgery.


We often begin by prescribing a combination of heat and anti-inflammatory medications to reduce stiffness and pain. We might recommend oral medications or corticosteroid injections, depending on your individual needs. 

In some cases, you might benefit from a hydrodilatation injection. This treatment puts a large volume of sterile solution into your shoulder, which gently stretches and opens the joint capsule. 


Physical therapy is a critical component of most treatment plans for shoulder problems. You typically begin with passive stretches and movements — this means that your physical therapist moves your arm and manipulates your shoulder. Then, as you progress through your recovery, you start to move independently and add resistance to your exercises to rebuild your strength. 

Arthroscopic capsular release

If conservative therapies don’t relieve your pain and stiffness, we also offer minimally invasive arthroscopic capsular release. During this surgery, one of our experienced orthopedic surgeons carefully releases your shoulder capsule. 

We use an arthroscope, a thin pencil-shaped surgical instrument with a light and a camera on its tip. We insert the device into your shoulder. It transmits video from inside your joint to a monitor in the treatment room. We can see and treat your shoulder without making a large incision in any of the other muscles and connective tissue in your shoulder. 

In addition to cutting your shoulder capsule’s tight parts, your surgeon might manipulate your shoulder under anesthesia. We can often stretch and loosen frozen shoulders, breaking up scar tissue and adhesions. 

After surgery, you have physical therapy to protect and then restore your strength and range of motion while you recover. Our goal is to help you get back to your regular activities as quickly and safely as possible. 

Never ignore shoulder pain. Many issues, such as a frozen shoulder, need professional orthopedic care to heal quickly and safely. Call us here at Arizona Center for Hand to Shoulder Surgery or schedule an appointment online for expert treatment for a frozen shoulder.

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