The shoulder joint has the ability to go through a wide range of movements due to the sack like capsule which consists of different ligaments joined together and encloses the joint. Inflammation of this capsule can start spontaneously, after an injury of after an operation. It tends to happen in persons between 45 and 65 years old, diabetics and people with thyroid conditions.
When it develops spontaneously, it can limit movement for 18 to 24 months and pain during the use of the shoulder is worst within the first 6 - 8 months. If its onset follows an operation or an injury, the pain and limited motion continues for 2 - 3 months thereafter.
The onset of capsulitis cannot be forecast. When it happens after a shoulder operation, the result of the operation can be delayed with months, but the end result of the operation is seldom affected negatively.
Thawing of the shoulder through the use of the upper limb within pain limits and use of pain killers as necessary is standard treatment. Cortisone injection is used in certain cases especially early after the onset of the condition.
Operation for capsulitis does not provide guaranteed pain relief and is only used in longstanding cases with severe symptoms. It involves the physical tear of the capsule through manipulation of the shoulder joint under anaesthetic, some times in combination with cutting through of the capsule by means of arthroscopic technique.