Article written by:
Dr Swarnendu Samanta
Consultant Orthopaedician & Traumatologist
What is frozen shoulder?
Frozen shoulder is stiffness, pain, and limited range of movement in the shoulder region. It may happen due to an injury or overuse or may be associated with diseases such as diabetes or a stroke. The tissues around the joint stiffen, scar tissue forms, and shoulder movements become difficult and painful. The condition usually comes on slowly, and then goes away slowly over the course of a year or more.
There are three stages of frozen shoulder:
- Painful stage – the shoulder becomes stiff and then very painful with movement. Movement becomes limited. Pain typically worsens at night.
- Frozen/adhesive stage – the shoulder becomes increasingly stiff, severely limiting range of motion. Pain may not diminish, but it does not usually worsen.
- Thawing stage – movement in the shoulder begins to improve. Pain may fade, but occasionally recur.
What causes frozen shoulder?
Frozen shoulder can develop when someone has stopped using the joint normally because of pain, injury, or a chronic health condition, such as diabetes or a stroke. Any shoulder problem can lead to frozen shoulder if you do not work to keep full range of motion.
Frozen shoulder occurs due to various reasons:
- After surgery or injury
- Most often in people of the age group 40 to 70 years
- More often in women (especially in postmenopausal women) than in men.
- Most often in people with chronic diseases.
How is frozen shoulder diagnosed?
A doctor may suspect frozen shoulder if a physical exam reveals restricted shoulder movement in all ranges. An X-ray or an MRI scan may be performed to see whether symptoms are from another condition such as arthritis or a previous fracture.
Can frozen shoulder be prevented?
Gentle, progressive range-of-motion exercises, stretching, and using the shoulder more may help prevent frozen shoulder after surgery or an injury.
Content Provided by:
Dr. Swarnendu Samanta, MS (Ortho)
Consultant Orthopaedics and Traumatology
Peerless Hospital & B K Roy Research Center