Frozen Shoulder Pain and Treatments

What Causes a Frozen Shoulder? If you have a hormonal imbalance, diabetes, or a weakened immune system, you may be prone to joint inflammation. A long period of inactivity due to an injury, illness, or surgery also makes you more vulnerable to inflammation and adhesions, which are bands of stiff tissue.

Frozen shoulder, also known as adhesive capsulitis, is a condition characterized by stiffness and pain in your shoulder joint. Signs and symptoms typically begin gradually, worsen over time and then resolve, usually within one to three years.

Medications. Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as aspirin and ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others), can help reduce pain and inflammation associated with frozen shoulder. In some cases, your doctor may prescribe stronger pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory drugs. Wearing a shoulder brace will speed up the recovery of a frozen shoulder.

Whether treated or not, the majority of frozen shoulders improve on their own over the course of 6 to 12 months, but sometimes it can be up to 18 months. Without treatment, the return of motion generally is gradual, but normal, full-range motion may never return.

Symptoms. The main symptoms of a frozen shoulder are pain and stiffness that make it difficult or impossible to move it. If you have a frozen shoulder, you’ll likely feel a dull or achy pain in one shoulder. You might also feel the pain in the shoulder muscles that wrap around the top of your arm.

Medical experts refer to a frozen shoulder as a “self-limiting” condition, meaning it will eventually go away on its own. However, people with frozen shoulder may not regain their full range of motion.


  • Pendulum stretch. Do this exercise first.
  • Towel stretch. Hold one end of a three-foot-long towel behind your back and grab the opposite end with your other hand.
  • Finger walk.
  • Cross-body reach.
  • Armpit stretch.
  • Outward rotation.
  • Inward rotation.

The most common cause of night pain in your shoulder is due to a process we call rotator cuff tendinosis and shoulder bursitis. While there is no exact science as to why your shoulder pain is worse at night, some factors may be sleeping on your side, direct pressure on your shoulder, and/or your mattress.

It reduces the inflammation within the frozen shoulder joint. … Cortisone injections typically result in pain relief within a few days, which is because the inflammation diminishes. The effects may last for several weeks. The most common side effect is a “cortisone flare”.

If you have a frozen shoulder, you can generally use your arm as you normally would and don’t have to worry about harming it. But to keep the pain from getting worse, it’s best to be careful and avoid sudden movements. Many people use cold or heat packs to relieve shoulder pain.

While your frozen shoulder will eventually go back to normal, Massage Envy can make it easier to live with in the meantime. Various types of massage will relax the muscles in the affected area. … In addition, regular massage therapy can help improve your range of motion.

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to identify any damage to soft tissues, such as a rotator cuff tear. While an MRI can potentially show inflammation, it cannot definitively diagnose frozen shoulder.


  • Try heat or cold. Depending on which works best for you for pain relief, try a hot compress or heating pad for 15 minutes several times daily, or else apply an ice pack to the shoulder for 15 minutes, several times daily.
  • Take anti-inflammatory medication. …
  • Support the shoulder with a shoulder brace.

Swimming and exercising in water can help reduce pain and improve function in a wide range of musculoskeletal conditions such as frozen shoulder. However, swimming a lot can overuse muscles and joints and may make musculoskeletal conditions such as frozen shoulder worse.

  • Freezing, or painful stage: Pain increases gradually, making shoulder motion harder and harder. Pain tends to be worse at night. …
  • Frozen: Pain does not worsen, and it may decrease at this stage. The shoulder remains stiff. …
  • Thawing: Movement gets easier and may eventually return to normal.

People who have frozen shoulder (adhesive capsulitis) are advised to do physical therapy exercises that are physically challenging but do not trigger shoulder pain. The exercises described below are designed for people experiencing moderate to severe frozen shoulder symptoms.

  1. Physical Therapy. Physical therapy is the most common treatment for a frozen shoulder.
  2. Wear a shoulder brace support.
  3. Medications. To treat the pain and reduce your joint inflammation, your doctor may recommend an anti-inflammatory medication like aspirin, ibuprofen, or naproxen sodium.
  4. Home Care.
  5. Surgery.

Acupuncture is an effective treatment modality for the alleviation of frozen shoulder. A combination of extracorporeal shock wave therapy (ESWT) and electroacupuncture reduces pain and improves shoulder joint range of motion (ROM) for patients with frozen shoulder (adhesive capsulitis).