What is Frozen Shoulder?

Jan 6, 2021

Are you experiencing pain, stiffness, or loss of range in your shoulder? You may have what we call a frozen shoulder. The good news, your shoulder can become unfrozen.

Continue reading below for more information about frozen shoulder and how our staff at Mountainstate Orthopedic Associates, Inc. can treat it for you.

Frozen Shoulder: What is it?

Frozen shoulder progressively becomes worse, especially if untreated. This condition causes pain, stiffness and extreme discomfort in the shoulder joint. Also known as adhesive capsulitis, signs and symptoms have tendencies to worsen over time and then resolve, usually within one to three years.

You may experience more critical pain from frozen shoulder at night, especially if you sleep on the affected joint.

Download our free Guide to Shoulder Pain to learn more about the frozen shoulder and other shoulder conditions.

Who is at risk for Frozen Shoulder?

People who are at risk for this condition are most likely to have undergone a medical procedure or condition which limits movement in their arm. Factors that enhance your likelihood of developing frozen shoulder are as follows:

  • Age: Individuals who are over the age of 40 are more prone to have a frozen shoulder.
  • Gender: Women are more likely to accumulate this condition.
  • Reduced Mobility: Immobility from previous injuries or health conditions places.
  • Systemic Diseases: Those with diabetes, thyroid problems, cardiovascular diseases and other diseases are more at risk of developing a frozen shoulder.


Frozen shoulder develops slowly, and it has three main stages:

  1. The Freezing Stage: This stage lasts between three to nine months. Pain when moving the joint and range of motion becomes limited.
  2. The Frozen Stage: Lasting between four to 12 months; in this stage, the shoulder is stiff and painful to use (pain may reduce during this stage).
  3. The Thawing Stage: This stage can last from 12 to 42 months. The shoulder slowly begins to return to normal.

Your pain may worsen at night and can cause sleep disruptions. If this is you, don’t wait to call one of our physicians for an appointment: CTA


The ligaments and tendons that make up your shoulder joint are surrounded and brought together with connective tissue. Frozen shoulder emerges when this area contracts around the shoulder joint and restricts its overall mobility.

Medical professionals are uncertain of what provokes this condition to form.


Prevention efforts to consider for your frozen shoulder:

Talk to your medical professional about exercises to maintain the range of motion in your shoulder joint.

Attempt to use your hurt shoulder as much as possible while keeping in mind your pain level and range-of-motion limits. Additionally, apply heat or cold to your shoulder to help relieve any pain or discomfort.

You may also participate in stretching exercises for your shoulder to stretch the point of tension. If you feel pain when attempting the stretches, discontinue. Stretching activities such as pendulum stretch, towel stretch or finger walk could be beneficial for you.

Treatments for Frozen Shoulder

For treatment purposes, your medical professionals may ask you to move in specific ways to monitor and diagnose the pain. Your range of motion will also be evaluated.

Frozen shoulder is usually diagnosable from your signs and symptoms. However, for a more in-depth exam and depending on your symptoms, we may suggest that you partake in imaging tests such as X-rays or an MRI.

Treatment For Your Shoulder Pain 

Most treatment options involve controlling shoulder pain and preserving your range of motion. Treatment options for your shoulder pain include:

  • Medications: Pain-relieving medications, such as aspirin and ibuprofen, can reduce pain and inflammation. Your doctor may prescribe stronger pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory drugs if needed.
  • Physical Therapy: Physical therapy can help maintain and recover mobility within the shoulder. 
  • Corticosteroid Injections: Corticosteroid injections can help manage pain, although these injections are generally more helpful in the early stages of frozen shoulder.
  • Surgery: Surgical options for frozen shoulder aren’t familiar, but there are options should this be the course of treatment best for you.

Treat your Shoulder Pain at Mountainstate Orthopedic Associates, Inc. 

Don’t wait to see a doctor for your shoulder pain. Mountainstate Orthopedic Associates, Inc. (MOA) is a leading orthopedic practice in the region. Our staff is proud of the education and experience that our doctors hold for each patient.

From your appointment to the conclusion of your treatment, at MOA, we aim to inform you throughout the decision making process. It’s our policy to be conventional with our treatment of choice, as we only recommend surgery if it is necessary.

We are minimally invasive in our treatments as much as possible, and we reduce the amount of time a patient is in the hospital. With many of our surgical procedures, patients are home the same day of surgery.



Categories: Shoulder Pain