Background Information

Frozen shoulder, also called adhesive capsulitis, is a condition that affects your shoulder joint, causing pain and stiffness.

The pain increases over time, it can worsen overnight, and it could make it difficult to move your arm and shoulder due to the tightness of the capsule.

The risk of developing a frozen shoulder is increased post-surgery or if a medical condition is preventing you from moving your arm, such as a stroke, or Parkinson’s Disease

People between the age of 40 and 60 appear to be at higher risk, and the prevalence is higher in women.

The diagnosis is based on a physical exam, and in some cases, imaging may be required, such as an MRI scan, X-RAYS, or ultrasound, to rule out other orthopedic problems.

This condition has three distinctive stages, and each can last several months:

  • The first stage is defined as “Freezing Stage”. The range of motion diminishes and movement cause pain, often severe. This phase could last from six to nine months.
  • The second stage is called “Frozen Stage”, as the shoulder increasingly become more difficult to move, although pain may start to get better. This stage could last from four to twelve months.
  • The final stage is called the “Thawing stage”, in which the range of motion starts to improve and go back to normal. This stage could last from six months to two years.

The treatment for frozen shoulder includes the prescription of NSAIDs or stronger pain reliefs, Shoulder exercises to help with stretching and strengthening, and in some cases, corticosteroid injections. In a very small percentage, surgery may be required to loosen the joint capsule to allow more movement.

About The Author

Aura d

RGN, MSc in Pharmacology, and Medical Writer. I have worked in the healthcare sector for more than 8 years, specialising in trauma and surgery.  

Aura D Phyoga Author
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