Frozen Shoulder Specialist Treating Patients in Houston, Beaumont and Cypress

Frozen Shoulder

Frozen shoulder, also called adhesive capsulitis is a condition characterized by pain and loss of motion in shoulder joint. It is more common in older adults aged between 40 and 60 years and is more common in women than men.


Frozen shoulder is caused by inflammation of the ligaments holding the shoulder bones to each other. The shoulder capsule becomes thick, tight, and the stiff bands of tissue called adhesions may develop. Individuals with shoulder injury, shoulder surgeries, shoulder immobilized for longer period of time, other disease conditions such as diabetes, hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, Parkinson’s disease and cardiac diseases are at risk of developing frozen shoulder.


Frozen shoulder may cause pain and stiffness and limit the movements of shoulder.


Frozen shoulder condition can be diagnosed by the presenting symptoms and radiological diagnostic procedures such as X-rays or MRI scans.

Conservative Treatment

Conservative Treatment options include:

  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and steroid injections for pain
  • Physical therapy to improve your range of motion
  • Sometimes heat may be applied to reduce pain


Your surgeon may recommend Shoulder arthroscopy when the conservative treatment does not work. During surgery, the scar tissue will be removed and tight ligaments, if any, will be dissected. Following surgery physical therapy will be advised to bring full range of motion and strengthen the muscles.

Frozen shoulder has the official name of adhesive capsulitis. No matter what you call it, the condition makes it difficult to move your shoulder. It causes pain, stiffness and loss of motion in your shoulder joint.

Sometimes, you get frozen shoulder without an easily identifiable cause. In other cases, you may develop it after an injury. Women, as well as adults between 40 and 60, have a higher chance of getting this condition than other people. If you think you have frozen shoulder, Dr. Gombera can help. He serves patients in Houston, Beaumont and Cypress who have orthopedic issues.

Anatomy — How Does the Shoulder Freeze Up?

Your shoulder joint is a network of bones, muscles and cartilage that work together. We call it a "ball and socket" joint because two of its bones fit like a ball and socket. The top of your arm bone has a round head that fits into a socket in your shoulder blade. A layer of ligaments and cartilage called the joint capsule surrounds the joint and keeps it mobile.

When you have frozen shoulder, the tissue in your joint capsule sticks together due to inflammation. The name "adhesive capsulitis" comes from this phenomenon.

Causes — What Are the Causes of Frozen Shoulder?

Experts don't quite understand why your shoulder capsule gets inflamed and causes frozen shoulder. However, we do know that some conditions and events make you more susceptible to adhesive capsulitis, including:

Symptoms — What Problems Does Frozen Shoulder Cause?

Frozen shoulder causes pain and stiffness in your shoulder. The pain feels dull or aching and gets worse when you move your arm. You can usually feel frozen shoulder pain in your outer shoulder area or upper arm. It may feel as though something physically blocks you from moving the shoulder all the way. Your arm's range of motion becomes limited even when someone else tries to move your shoulder for you.

Diagnosis — How Does Dr. Gombera Diagnose Adhesive Capsulitis?

When Dr. Gombera thinks a patient could have frozen shoulder, he looks at their medical history and symptoms. He'll probably try to move your arm to see if it still has reduced mobility. The signature symptom of adhesive capsulitis is the shoulder's inability to move even with help from someone else. If he can move your arm through its normal range of motion, you might have a rotator cuff tear instead. When Dr. Gombera needs more information, he conducts X-ray and MRI scans to look at your bone and tissue.

Treatment — What Adhesive Capsulitis Treatments Does Dr. Gombera Offer?

Dr. Gombera almost always chooses conservative treatment methods before surgery. He understands that your body is the best surgeon of all when you have a condition it can repair by itself. Non-surgical treatment strategies include:

  • Painkillers, anti-inflammatory drugs or steroid injections for pain relief
  • Physical therapy exercises to increase your range of motion
  • Hydrodilatation, a process involving a fluid injection that expands the joint

If your shoulder doesn't respond to these approaches, you may need surgery. Dr. Gombera offers shoulder arthroscopy procedures that improve on traditional open surgery. He uses a small scope called an arthroscope to avoid more invasive techniques. The arthroscope fits into a small incision that allows him to use small instruments to address your problem.

Recovery and Rehabilitation — What Should I Expect After Frozen Shoulder Surgery?

Since an arthroscopy involves small incisions instead of large ones, you can usually go home the same day that you have surgery. We'll give you a checklist that shows you what to do after your procedure, and you'll have your shoulder in a sling until the follow-up visit.

Remember not to get your dressing or incisions wet until they heal. Dr. Gombera will ask you to do very basic exercises until you begin physical therapy. Once you start your physical therapy plan, you'll follow it for a few months. However, you'll recover enough to get back to work well before you finish physical therapy.

How to Get Frozen Shoulder Treatment From Dr. Gombera

We welcome patients in Houston, Beaumont and Cypress to schedule an appointment with Dr. Gombera. Use our online booking tool or call us at (713) 794-3457 to get started today.


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American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons The American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine Arthroscopy Association of North America american shoulder and elbow society international society for hip arthroscopy