Your Online Health Information Site


Frozen Shoulder

A frozen shoulder can be a source of shoulder pain. Shoulder rest (e.g. with the use of an arm sling) for a certain period of time can shrink the joint capsule of the acromiohumeral joint, which is the proper shoulder joint. This is called “frozen shoulder” or “adhesive capsulitis” and leads to pain and a markedly decreased range of motion in the shoulder joint.

Patients are severely distressed by this and tend to brace their arm along the chest cage and do not want to move it, which in turn makes the problem even worse. Frozen shoulder treatment consists of early physiotherapy treatment. Range of motion exercises and stretching of the shoulder muscles often allows the condition to subside gradually.

Long recovery time an different stages of frozen shoulder

However, it often takes its course and the condition can take 1.5 and often up to 2 or 3 years to resolve.

It has different stages where the range of motion is getting worse for a few months, then it stays stable, but markedly restricted and with persistent slow stretching exercises and active exercises within the range of motion, considerable shoulder range of motion and shoulder strength can be regained. Perhaps 80% to 85% of people affected with this condition will regain all of the strength and range of motion. However, there are other cases where shoulder disability remains (Ref. 3).

 Frozen Shoulder

Frozen Shoulder


1. ABC of rheumatology, second edition, edited by Michael L. Snaith , M.D., BMJ Books, 1999.

2. The Merck Manual, 7th edition, by M. H. Beers et al., Whitehouse Station, N.J., 1999.

3. Goldman: Cecil Textbook of Medicine, 21st ed.(©2000)W.B.Saunders

4. Ferri: Ferri’s Clinical Advisor: Instant Diagnosis and Treatment, 2004 ed., Copyright © 2004 Mosby, Inc.

5. Rakel: Conn’s Current Therapy 2004, 56th ed., Copyright © 2004 Elsevier

6. Wheeless’ Textbook of Orthopaedics: Several topics can be found under this link by entering the term you search for.

7. Suzanne Somers: “Breakthrough” Eight Steps to Wellness– Life-altering Secrets from Today’s Cutting-edge Doctors”, Crown Publishers, 2008

Last modified: July 10, 2019

This outline is only a teaching aid to patients and should stimulate you to ask the right questions when seeing your doctor. However, the responsibility of treatment stays in the hands of your doctor and you.