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Frozen Shoulder: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment Options

Frozen shoulder, also known as adhesive capsulitis, is a condition characterized by pain and stiffness in the shoulder joint. It often develops gradually and can significantly limit the range of motion in the affected shoulder. Understanding the causes, symptoms, and available treatment options for frozen shoulder is crucial for effective management and recovery.


The exact cause of frozen shoulder is not always clear, but certain factors can increase the risk of developing the condition. These include:

  • Age: Individuals over the age of 40 are more susceptible.
  • Gender: Women are more likely to develop frozen shoulder.
  • Certain Medical Conditions: Conditions such as diabetes, thyroid disorders, and cardiovascular disease can increase the risk.
  • Immobility: Prolonged immobility of the shoulder due to injury, surgery, or other medical conditions can contribute to the development of frozen shoulder.


The symptoms of frozen shoulder typically progress through three stages:

  • Freezing Stage: Gradual onset of pain and increasing stiffness. The range of motion in the shoulder becomes limited.
  • Frozen Stage: Pain may begin to subside, but stiffness remains. Everyday activities become challenging due to reduced mobility.
  • Thawing Stage: Gradual improvement in shoulder mobility and a decrease in stiffness.


Treatment for frozen shoulder aims to alleviate pain and improve shoulder mobility. Depending on the severity of the condition, various approaches may be recommended:

  • Physical Therapy: Gentle stretching and range-of-motion exercises can help improve flexibility and reduce stiffness.
  • Pain Relief: Over-the-counter pain medications, corticosteroid injections, or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can provide relief.
  • Heat and Cold Therapy: Applying heat or cold packs to the shoulder can help reduce pain and promote relaxation.
  • Hydrodilatation: Injections of sterile water into the shoulder joint can help stretch the capsule and improve mobility.
  • Surgery: In severe cases where other treatments haven't been effective, surgical options like shoulder manipulation or arthroscopic release may be considered.

It's important to consult a healthcare professional for an accurate diagnosis and a tailored treatment plan based on your individual condition. Early intervention can lead to better outcomes in managing frozen shoulder.