Breaking News:

Frozen Shoulder - Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment

Dr Rohit Bhaskar
Dr Rohit Bhaskar
Font size:

Frozen shoulder, also known as adhesive capsulitis, is a condition characterized by stiffness and pain in your shoulder joint. Signs and symptoms typically begin gradually, worsen over time and then resolve, usually within one to three years.

Frozen Shoulder


đź”· Frozen shoulder typically develops slowly, and in three stages. Each stage can last a number of months.

đź”· Freezing stage. Any movement of your shoulder causes pain, and your shoulder's range of motion starts to become limited.
Frozen stage. Pain may begin to diminish during this stage. However, your shoulder becomes stiffer, and using it becomes more difficult.
đź”· Thawing stage. The range of motion in your shoulder begins to improve.
For some people, the pain worsens at night, sometimes disrupting sleep.


The bones, ligaments and tendons that make up your shoulder joint are encased in a capsule of connective tissue. Frozen shoulder occurs when this capsule thickens and tightens around the shoulder joint, restricting its movement.


Certain factors may increase your risk of developing frozen shoulder.

⭕ Age and sex
People 40 and older, particularly women, are more likely to have frozen shoulder.

⭕ Immobility or reduced mobility
People who've had prolonged immobility or reduced mobility of the shoulder are at higher risk of developing frozen shoulder. Immobility may be the result of many factors, including:

đź”»Rotator cuff injury
đź”»Broken arm
đź”»Recovery from surgery
đź”»Systemic diseases

⭕ People who have certain diseases appear more likely to develop frozen shoulder. Diseases that might increase risk include:

đź”»Overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism)
đź”»Underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism)
đź”»Cardiovascular disease
đź”»Parkinson's disease


đź”»Physical Examination


Most frozen shoulder treatment involves controlling shoulder pain and preserving as much range of motion in the shoulder as possible.


Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as aspirin and ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others), can help reduce pain and inflammation associated with frozen shoulder. In some cases, your doctor may prescribe stronger pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory drugs.


A physical therapist can teach you range-of-motion exercises to help recover as much mobility in your shoulder as possible. Your commitment to doing these exercises is important to optimize recovery of your mobility.


Acupuncture involves inserting extremely fine needles in your skin at specific points on your body. Typically, the needles remain in place for 15 to 40 minutes. During that time they may be moved or manipulated. Because the needles are hair thin and flexible and are generally inserted superficially, most acupuncture treatments are relatively painless.

A TENS unit delivers a tiny electrical current to key points on a nerve pathway. The current, delivered through electrodes taped to your skin, isn't painful or harmful. It's not known exactly how TENS works, but it's thought that it might stimulate the release of pain-inhibiting molecules (endorphins) or block pain fibers that carry pain impulses.
Also read: