What is Frozen Shoulder?

Frozen shoulder, medically known as adhesive capsulitis, is a condition where the ligaments around the shoulder thicken and become tight and inflamed, causing limited shoulder motion and shoulder pain. The cause of frozen shoulder is not yet fully understood but often happens following an injury, like a rotator cuff tear, fracture, or surgery. People with certain diseases, such as Diabetes, Parkinson’s, Stroke, and Thyroid diseases, are also predisposed to frozen shoulder.


Symptoms of Frozen Shoulder:

  • Little to no movement, with a dull aching pain.
  • Most likely happens to one shoulder at a time.
  • An episode of frozen shoulder in the past–you’re likely to have another.
  • Usually clears up on its own but can take months.
  • Happens in 3 stages.

Stages of Frozen Shoulder

1) Painful or Freezing Phase: 10 – 36 Weeks   

Stage 1 Presentation

  • More common in women.
  • More common in the non-dominant arm.
  • Movement restriction.
  • Pain at rest.
  • Pain radiating past the elbow.
  • Night pain.

2) Stiffening or Frozen Phase: 4 – 12 Months

3) Thawing Phase: 5 – 26 Months

Stage 2 & 3 Presentation:

  • Pain in the shoulder not extending to the elbow.
  • Pain with or without resistance.
  • Extreme discomfort during sleep.
  • Much less pain at rest.

Treatment: When dealing with any health impairment, it is better to catch it early on. If you recognize the signs for frozen shoulder, you can reverse it and save time and agony. It is wise to remember that frozen shoulder happens over the years and recovery is a slow process. The best treatment for frozen shoulder is guided by a medical professional, such as a physical therapist. However, home programs guided by a clinician should be properly adhered to for a speedy recovery.

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Edited: Ffrancesca Famorcan

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