Frozen Shoulder – Causes, Symptoms And Treatment

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By Dr. Vishwas Virmani, Physiotherapy

Frozen shoulder, also called adhesive capsulitis, is a condition in which the shoulder swells and stiffens and the flexibility of the shoulder joint reduces. It usually affects only one of the shoulders. This leads to the development of scar tissues in the shoulder, thus thickening and tightening the joint capsule, making mobility a pain.
People within the age group of 40-60 are the most susceptible to this condition. Among the sexes, women are more prone to this condition as compared to men.


Frozen shoulder develops when you stop using the joint normally, caused either due to any injury or a chronic health condition such as diabetes. This occurs:
1. If you had undergone a recent surgery or suffered an injury
2. With age; as the joints become stiff
3. If a woman is going through her post-menopausal phase
4. If one is suffering from chronic ailments, cardiovascular disorders or Parkinson’s disease
5. If one is diagnosed with hyperthyroidism/hypothyroidism


Symptoms of frozen shoulder include persistent pain and stiffness in the shoulders, so much so that even raising the arms becomes difficult. In severe cases, even performing daily routine tasks might seem to be a mighty task.

How is Frozen shoulder treated?

A combination of the following can speed up recovery:
1. Physical therapy: Physical Therapy is one of the most popular modes of treatment wherein you are advised mild stretching exercises to regain your lost mobility. But this might involve a longer down time; can take up to several weeks.
2. Medications: Anti-inflammatory medicines such as Aspirin, Ibuprofen or Naproxen Sodium may be administered to treat the pain and inflammation. In case of severe pain, steroid injections might be recommended.
3. Surgery: If physical therapy doesn’t improve your condition, you may go for surgery. Usually arthroscopic surgery is suggested which involves making a small incision in your shoulder and using an “arthroscope” to the remove scar tissues. This allows the shoulder to recover its mobility. If your frozen shoulder is the result of an injury, getting the surgery done within days of the injury can save you from the risks of a frozen shoulder.
4. Home remedy: Apply an ice pack against your shoulder for 15 minutes thrice a day. Applying turmeric paste on the affected shoulder may also work wonders.