Adhesive capsulitis or frozen shoulder is a condition in which the shoulder joint becomes stiff and painful. It typically progresses slowly and may cause a reduced range of motion in the shoulder. The management of the condition depends on the severity and duration of the symptoms and may involve conservative measures or surgical procedures.

Conservative Treatments

1.     Physical Therapy: The most common treatment for frozen shoulder is physical therapy which involves performing stretching exercises to improve the movement of the shoulder joint and decrease the pain.

2.     Medications: Over the counter medications that are available include nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen or aspirin for pain relief.

3.     Steroid Injections: Steroid injections in the shoulder joint may offer pain relief and increased range of motion in the initial stage of frozen shoulder.

4.     Heat and Cold Therapy: Using heat before exercise and cold after exercise can also help to reduce pain and inflammation.

Surgical Treatments

If the conservative treatment measures do not help alleviate the symptoms, the surgeon may recommend surgery.

1.     Manipulation Under Anesthesia (MUA): This procedure entails manipulation of the shoulder joint during the patient’s general anaesthesia to address adhesions and enhance the joint’s flexibility.

2.     Arthroscopic Capsular Release: This is a relatively simple procedure that involves making small cuts around the shoulder joint and using a tube with a camera (arthroscope) to guide the surgical tools. The surgeon makes incisions in the contracted areas of the joint capsule to free the adhesions and increase the joint mobility.

Post-Surgical Rehabilitation

Rehabilitation is important after the surgery to help the shoulder regain its full mobility and strength. This typically involves:

·        Scheduled physical therapy appointments.

·        A structured home exercise program.

·        Further application of pain management measures if necessary.


The majority of patients receive considerable benefit in terms of shoulder joint mobility and pain reduction with proper treatment. Nevertheless, the recovery process may last several months, and it is crucial to follow the recommended rehabilitation regimens.

When to Consider Surgery

Surgery is typically considered when:Surgery is typically considered when:

·        The pain and stiffness do not resolve even after several months of conventional management.

·        The condition makes it difficult to perform most tasks during the day.

·        There is a need for a faster resolution of symptoms especially in cases where the shoulder joint has limited function and this affects the professional or personal life.

It is advisable to seek the services of an orthopedic specialist to advice on the most appropriate course of action depending on the specific situation and degree of the injury.