Frozen shoulder

A frozen shoulder is defined by shoulder pain and rigidity. This condition generally starts after sustaining a shoulder injury that results to pain and does not allow the individual to move the shoulder as normally as before. Oftentimes, it might manifest for no known reason.

In case an individual has diminished shoulder movement for weeks, months or years due to an injury, the capsule bordering the shoulder joint might stiffen. The shoulder might form scar tissue or adhesions within the joint.

What are the signs?

  • Generally, there is difficulty moving the shoulder in all directions.
  • Inability to lift the arm above the head or reach out to scratch the back
  • Grinding sensation or achiness arises if the shoulder is moved

Management of a frozen shoulder

Frozen shoulder

Generally, there is difficulty moving the shoulder in all directions.

  • If there is shoulder pain, apply an ice pack covered with a clean towel or cloth every 3-4 hours for 20 minutes at a time.
  • A shot of steroid might be given by the doctor directly into the shoulder joint to ease the pain and swelling.
  • An anti-inflammatory medication might be given by the doctor.
  • Physical therapy might also be suggested which includes a guided exercise regimen. Home exercises are also given.

In case the condition does not settle with medications and exercise, the doctor might suggest a procedure to breakdown the scar tissue inside the shoulder. During the procedure, general anesthesia is used, and the shoulder is moved in different directions to break up the adhesions. In some cases, arthroscopic surgery is carried out to check if there are other causes for frozen shoulder.

The recovery period is based on various factors including overall health and age as well as previous shoulder injuries. Remember that the effects of this condition can last for a long time and might even worsen if not correctly treated.


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