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Frozen Shoulder Closed Manipulation

General Information

Frozen shoulder is the common name for adhesive capsulitis, and refers to the condition in which the connective tissue over the shoulder joint stiffens and becomes inflamed, limiting mobility in the shoulder and arm. In a closed manipulation of the frozen shoulder, your doctor will attempt to move the arm around in order to reduce stiffness and loosen up the connective tissue.

Reasons for Closed Manipulation of a Frozen Shoulder

Closed manipulation of a frozen shoulder generally occurs if other traditional treatments are not working. Frozen shoulder wears off within months up to a year, as there are various stages of the condition, including:

  • Freezing: Pain initially develops and continues whether the arm is moving or at rest
  • Frozen: Shoulder is locked into place with very little movement, though pain begins to lessen
  • Thawing: Movement in the arm and should gradually begins to improve


    To determine if a closed manipulation of a frozen shoulder could improve your condition, your doctor may do any of the following:
  • Physical exam
  • X-ray
  • MRI Scan


    During the procedure, the following steps are often used when dealing with a frozen shoulder:
  • You will be placed under local or general anesthesia (more commonly used) so the manipulation causes no discomfort
  • Your doctor will grasp the arm and shoulder and move it outward and upward
  • Stretching continues anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour to break up any scar tissue around the shoulder area or joints

    What to Expect

    After the procedure, you may be kept under observation until the anesthesia has worn off completely. While you feel no pain during the procedure itself, you may be sore afterward. To maximize benefits of a closed manipulation, the following steps should be done:
  • Place an ice pack on the shoulder in 30 minute increments for the first 24 to 48 hours after the procedure
  • Stretch your hands open and closed and gently extend the elbow frequently to stretch
  • Work with a physical therapist to loosen up stiff joints and muscles