Frozen Shoulder

Orthopedic Care for A Frozen Shoulder

The shoulder joint is one of the most maneuverable and important in the body. Because of how important the shoulder is to daily activities, it becomes very obvious if there are aches and pains in that area. If you’ve been dealing with pain and stiffness in your shoulder recently, you might be suffering from frozen shoulder. The hallmark of frozen shoulder syndrome is stiffness.

Frozen shoulder is a fairly common ailment that can affect people who have suffered from injuries to their rotator cuff, people who have had their arm confined to a sling, people with diabetes, men over 40, those who have suffered a stroke, and those who have had a mastectomy.

Adhesive capsulitis is the more official term to describe “frozen shoulder.” When it comes to frozen shoulder, this is a specific ailment that will result in pain and stiffness in your shoulder joint. Typically, frozen shoulder will start very slowly, but over one to three years, you’ll eventually be unable to deny that there’s something wrong with your shoulder.

Many people who have frozen shoulder can pinpoint the onset to a period in their lives when the normal range of motion in their shoulder was halted for some reason (see above: people who have had to use a sling, people who have had rotator cuff injuries, etc.).

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With frozen shoulder, you will encounter three distinct stages as the pain and numbness get gradually worse. The three stages are called the freezing stage, the frozen stage, and the thawing stage, and each stage can last months at a time.

  1. Whenever you try to move your shoulder, you will feel pain. You will also begin to lose your range of movement in your shoulder.
  2. The pain will lessen, but your range of motion will decrease almost to nothing.
  3. Your range of motion will improve, but you might end up feeling increased pain when you’re sleeping/at night.

Risks and Complications

Frozen shoulder isn’t the type of ailment that will go away once it’s been initially treated. Even after combating it once, it may return over and over again through your life, and it might even crop up in the other arm. There’s no telling when it might appear, how long it will last, and how severe the pain and numbness might be.

Causes and Prevention

When it comes to frozen shoulder, you are much more likely to end up with it if you have suffered from a type of medical condition (such as a stroke or a mastectomy) that prevents you from moving your arm to its full range of motion. Additionally, although doctors aren’t 100% certain what causes it, they have found that people with diabetes tend to be more prone to getting frozen shoulder. People over 40 also tend to have a higher risk of frozen shoulder.

However, if you’re worried that you might be at risk of frozen shoulder, take your time to do range-of-motion exercises on a schedule so that you can try to keep the joint limber. Add them into your daily routine as part of a continued effort to try and avoid suffering from a frozen shoulder.

Modern Techniques for Shoulder Surgery

Many patients worry they'll have a long recovery period after a shoulder procedure. We take a minimally-invasive approach to restore the shoulder's function, shortening recovery time and reducing pain.


There are ways to get you close to your original range of mobility. When it comes to frozen shoulder treatment, you will likely be prescribed physical therapy meant to increase your range of motion and loosen the parts of your shoulder that have stiffened. You may also be given numbing medications and corticosteroids that are injected right into the joint to help with the consistent pain.

Depending on the severity of the frozen shoulder and your response to more conservative treatment, surgery may be recommended.


When it comes to painful injuries and ailments, frozen shoulder can’t be ignored. It can impact your quality of life and/or reduce your quality of living. If you’re worried that you might be feeling the onset of frozen shoulder, give us a call. Our orthopedic specialists are available for consultation to help your shoulder start feeling better again soon!

Additional Resources

Frozen shoulder- Mayo Clinic
Frozen shoulder- OrthoInfo

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