Frozen Shoulder

Frozen shoulder, or adhesive capsulitis, is an ailment that typically presents as stiffness and pain in the shoulder joint. Symptoms usually come on gradually, become worse over time and then resolve within one or two years. Frozen shoulder is common amongst individuals who suffer from a medical condition that affects the mobility of the arm such as a stroke. People are also prone to frozen should when they are recovering from a procedure that affects the mobility of the arm such as a mastectomy.

Frozen shoulder is typically treated with stretching exercises. Some people need to have an injection of corticosteroids and numbing medications into the shoulder joint as well. Surgery is rarely needed, but it helps loosen the joint so that it can move freely.

There are typically three stages of frozen shoulder.

  1. Painful Stage. During this stage, an individual experiences pain with any movement of the shoulder. The shoulder’s range of motion tends to decrease in this stage.
  2. Frozen Stage. Pain sometimes begins to go away during this stage. The shoulder tends to become stiffer and the individual’s range of motion is significantly impaired.
  3. Thawing Stage. During this stage, the shoulder’s range of motion begins to improve.

Mayo Clinic (2014). Frozen Shoulder.