Frozen Shoulder

Frozen Shoulder, TPL Orthopedics and Sports MedicineAdhesive capsulitis, commonly known as frozen shoulder, is condition that restricts the shoulder joint movement and causes pain. A frozen shoulder will go through three phases: a freezing phase, where the joint becomes tight; a stiff phase, where shoulder movement gets significantly curtailed; and a thawing phase, where mobility improves and pain begins to subside.

Board certified orthopedic surgeons at the Thomas & Bigler Knee & Shoulder Institute provide treatments for frozen shoulder to patients in Las Vegas, Nevada and towns and suburbs in this section of The Battle Born State.



Painful (Freezing) Phase

In this phase, a gradual start of aching in the shoulder will occur. The pain will be diffused and is likely to worsen at night, making it difficult for the patient to lie down on the affected side. This painful phase may last from two to nine months.


Stiffening (Frozen) Phase

Stiffening will start happening in the shoulder joint in this phase. The shoulder pain may continue, and the patient may find it difficult to perform normal daily tasks. If treatment is neglected, shoulder muscles may begin to waste away. The symptoms in this phase may persist for about four months to a year.


Thawing Phase

In this phase, the frozen shoulder symptoms will start improving. Patient will be able to extend their range of movement and experience gradual pain reduction. Stiffness can ease for some time, but pain may re-emerge later. The thawing phase may last for about five months to a year.



An orthopedic surgeon can provide timely treatment to ensure that severe stiffness is avoided. The patient should be prepared to follow the surgeon’s recommendation for a rehab program. Shoulder movements should be continued, even though the small and pendular. Mobility exercises and movement activity should only be done under the supervision of a qualified therapist.

Orthopedic surgeon’s first goal will be to try and manage frozen shoulder with conservative treatments. Surgery should only be a last option. The patient should arrange for physical therapy and a scientifically designed course of exercises in order to help maintain mobility and flexibility in the shoulder.

NSAIDs or steroidal drugs may be prescribed to treat inflammation in the shoulder joint. If the pain is acute, the surgeon may perform a steroidal injection directly into the joint. However, if inflammation does not diminish, surgery may be the last option left.

Once a conservative treatment or a surgery is completed, the rehabilitation efforts will begin. The patient should take care to pursue rehab only under professional supervision and guidance.



Arthroscopic capsular release is the most common technique to perform surgery to treat a frozen shoulder. This procedure is performed using the keyhole surgery technique. The thickened shoulder capsule gets divided with this treatment for easy release.

Patients should note that a surgical procedure will have to be followed by a scientific rehabilitation program. The patient should be prepared to follow it well. Board certified orthopedic surgeons Dr. Steven Thomas and Dr. Gregory Bigler receive patients from Las Vegas, Nevada and nearby areas.

If you would like to schedule an appointment or learn more about the Knee and Shoulder Institute procedures & treatments performed by Las Vegas, Nevada board certified surgeons Steven C. Thomas, MD and Gregory T. Bigler, MD. call (702) 933-9393; Physical Therapy (702) 933-9393.

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