What Is A Frozen Shoulder, and How Can You Treat It?

Share the Healthy News

Frozen shoulder is a commonly used term for adhesive capsulitis, which is a strain of the shoulder that restricts the range of movement. As the tissues in your shoulder joint grow thicker and tighter, scar tissue grows over time. As a consequence, the shoulder joint just does not have enough room to move properly. Usual symptoms include swelling, soreness, and stiffness. People in the age group of 4060 are more prone to this condition.

Causes of Frozen Shoulder

  • You may be prone to joint inflammation if you have a hormonal imbalance, diabetes, or a weakened immune system. 
  • Long periods of lack of activity due to injury, illness, or surgery also predispose individuals to inflammation and adhesion, which is stiff tissue bands. In severe cases, scar tissue can develop. This severely restricts your range of motion.

Symptoms of Frozen Shoulder

  • Stiffness and pain are one of the most common symptoms that make it extremely difficult to move. 
  • If you’ve frozen your shoulder, you ‘re likely to feel weak or achy pain in one side. 
  • You can even sense the pain in the shoulder muscles that stretch around the end of your neck. 
  • You could feel the same feeling in your upper arm. 
  • Your pain may get worse at night, which may make it hard to sleep. 

People typically go through multiple phases when having a frozen shoulder with each phase having its own timelines and symptoms.

Freezing Stage

  • A pain is felt in your shoulder whenever you move it.
  • The pain worsens with time and is felt more during the night.
  • This phase can last for around 6-9 months.
  • Shoulder mobility is limited due to pain.

Frozen Stage

  • The pain in this stage might get better, but the stiffness remains.
  • The mobility is diminished, and doing the daily work gets really hard.
  • This phase can last for another 4-12 months.

Recovery Stage

  • The mobility of the shoulder starts coming back.
  • This phase can take as much as 6 months to 2 years.


If you feel stiffness and soreness in the shoulder, see your doctor. A physical exam will help you evaluate your range of movement. The doctor will note that you perform certain gestures and measure the range of motion of the arm, such as rubbing the opposite arm with your palm. A few tests may also be required. Your doctor can do a magnetic resonance imaging scan (MRI) to rule out tears in your rotator cuff or other pathologies. X-rays may also be used to test for arthritis or other anomalies. You will require an x-ray arthrogram, which involves injecting dye into the shoulder joint so that the doctor can see the shape.

How is Frozen Shoulder Treated?

When left untreated, frozen shoulder can take years to recover. A smart combination of the following can help you speed up the recovery.

Medication – Your doctor can prescribe anti-inflammatory medications such as aspirin, ibuprofen or sodium naproxen to relieve pain and minimize the joint inflammation. Your shoulder joint may also help with a steroid injection.

Physical Therapy

Physical therapy is the most effective treatment for frozen shoulders. The goal of therapy is to stretch your shoulder joint and restore the missing motion. It can take anywhere from a couple of weeks to nine months to see improvement. It is necessary to have a home workout system with gentle range of motion exercises. If you do not see progress after six months of intense daily exercise, talk to your doctor about other options.


When physical therapy does not change the health, surgery is an alternative. From a surgical point of view, your options are to deceive the shoulder and put it through a complete range of movement under a general anaesthetic to help break up any adhesions. Arthroscopic surgery is another choice. This surgical procedure involves making a quick cut in your shoulder and using a camera called an “arthroscope” to eliminate or release scar tissue. This makes it possible for the shoulder to recover its lost motion. When the frozen shoulder is the product of injury, surgery is usually more successful when done within a few weeks of injury.

Surgery is done typically on an outpatient basis. Your stitches are most likely to be removed after 10 days. Postoperative physical therapy is usually needed, as well. Many patients should get their maximum range of motion restored within three months. Surgery poses complications, please speak to the doctor before you agree on any treatment. Some people may feel discomfort or weakness afterwards, or they can’t tolerate the discomfort.

Home care

Putting an ice pack on your shoulder for 15 to 20 minutes several times a day can help to diminish your pain. If you cooperate with a physical therapist, exercises are important at home. Your physical therapist will give you instructions on the types of therapies you need to do, how often you need to do them, and when you need to push yourself extra hard. In the majority of cases, frozen shoulder can be cured.

Leave a Comment