Frozen Shoulder: Symptoms, Causes and Treatment - Dr. Darsh Goyal
27 Apr 2022

Normal Shoulder Anatomy

The ball and socket joint is a joint that connects the upper arm to your body. The humerus is a bone in your upper arm with a circular structure on the surface of your shoulder blade. Ligaments and tendons are responsible for keeping them together. They ensure that the bones are connected while tendons attach them to the muscles. A layer of cartilage does the job of keeping the bones apart. The ball & socket allows the arm to move in full motion.

What is a Frozen Shoulder?

When the shoulder joint gets affected by a condition where the person experiences pain and stiffness that grows slowly, becomes awful, and then eventually vanishes. This condition is known as Frozen Shoulder. Frozen shoulder can take one year to three years to get naturally treated. Your shoulder comprises three bones - humerus, scapula & clavicle. The shoulder capsule is a tissue that covers the shoulder joint to grab everything together. When the shoulder gets frozen, the capsule becomes so sturdy and fastened that it becomes difficult to move them. The strap of scar tissue develops, and significantly less synovial fluid remains to manage the joint to be lubricated. And because of this, the motion gets more restricted. 

Frozen Shoulder Signs and Symptoms

If the patient has a frozen shoulder, The symptoms of frozen shoulder are pain and stiffness, making it hard to move the shoulder. They may experience some dullness and sharp pain in one shoulder. There can be a possibility that you can feel the same sharp pain in the upper arm. The patient may face difficulty sleeping as the pain will worsen at night.

Generally, the patients with frozen shoulders go through three stages:-

Freezing Stage: This is the first stage in which the patient feels discomfort and ache whenever they move the shoulder. The pain gradually turns terrible and makes it very hard for the person to sleep at night. This phase lasts from six to nine months, and you become restricted from moving the shoulder.

Frozen Stage: The patient possibly feels better in this stage, but the shoulder stiffness gets awful. And because of that, the person will experience extreme difficulty moving their shoulder and feel lots of discomfort in doing daily activities. This stage can stay for four to twelve months.

Thawing Stage: Slowly, the patients will notice that their movements begin to go back to normal. This stage can take time from six to two years.

Frozen Shoulder Causes?

There is no particular reason for having a frozen shoulder, but a specific group is more at risk.  Frozen shoulder pain happens mostly to people between the ages of forty to sixty, and it typically occurs more in women than men. If the patient is recovering from a medical condition, the risk can also get higher. If the patient has diabetes, then the risk of getting a frozen shoulder will be higher than those who don't have diabetes. Other medical diseases are associated with frozen shoulder - Parkinson's, thyroid, or heart disease. 

Treatments for Frozen Shoulder

Generally, frozen shoulder treatment requires managing the shoulder discomfort and protecting the shoulder’s range of motion.


To help reduce the inflammation and pain related to frozen shoulder problems, the patient can go for pain relievers - ibuprofen, aspirin, etc. Sometimes when the patient’s frozen shoulder pain is a little more extreme, their doctor recommends some stronger pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory drugs.


Physical therapy can help the patient get back their shoulder’s strength and movement as much as possible. But To achieve excellent results, patients also need to make sure that they fulfill their commitment to attending physical therapy in a regular and prescribed manner.

Surgical and other procedures

Within twelve to eighteen months, most frozen shoulders get better independently. But if there are some persistent symptoms, then:- 

  • The doctor may suggest steroid injections that help you reduce the ache and refine the mobility of your shoulder. 
  • The doctor can also suggest Joint distention that stretches the tissue and makes moving the joint easier. 
  • The doctor can also advise you to do surgery when nothing helps, although this is rarely suggested.

Why is Dr. Darsh Goyal the best choice for your Frozen shoulder treatment?

Dr. Darsh Goyal is a renowned Orthopaedic Surgeon who has experience of nearly two decades in knee and shoulder surgery. He has worked in some of the finest hospitals across the globe. He has successfully treated more than nine thousand patients. Dr. Darsh has received training from some of the most respected institutes worldwide - NHS England, Hss New York, USA, and Munich, Germany. He has written many books and international papers. Dr. Goyal’s Bones & Joint Centre is among the best centers for advanced Arthroscopy/Laser Surgery for knee and shoulder and Fast track Total knee Replacement.


Q1) What is the fastest way to get rid of a frozen shoulder?
Generally, many patients with frozen shoulders get better independently within twelve to eighteen months. But there are some persistent symptoms due to which your doctor can suggest steroid injections. These injections help you reduce discomfort and enhance the movement of the shoulder.

Q2)Can frozen shoulder go away on its own?
The frozen shoulder eventually goes away on its own, but it may not gather back its full strength and motion.

Q3)What should you not do with a frozen shoulder?
You should make sure that you do not pull, jerk or strike your shoulder, as these movements will worsen the pain and create more tension in the muscles.

Q4)What happens if the frozen shoulder is not treated?
If the frozen shoulder is not cured, it will result in pain, and slowly, your shoulder strength will also get lost. Plus, it will lessen the level of motion.