Frozen Shoulder - Treatments

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What is the treatment for a frozen shoulder?

The treatment of a frozen shoulder usually requires an aggressive combination of anti-inflammatory medication, cortisone injection(s) into the shoulder, and physical therapy (physiotherapy). Without aggressive treatment, a frozen shoulder can be permanent.

Diligent physical therapy is often essential for recovery and can include ultrasound, electric stimulation, range-of-motion exercise maneuvers, stretching, ice packs, and eventually strengthening exercises. Physical therapy can take weeks to months for recovery, depending on the severity of the scarring of the tissues around the shoulder.

It is very important for people with a frozen shoulder to avoid reinjuring the shoulder tissues during the rehabilitation period. These individuals should avoid sudden, jerking motions of or heavy lifting with the affected shoulder.

Sometimes a frozen shoulders is resistant to treatment. Patients with resistant frozen shoulders can be considered for release of the scar tissue by arthroscopic surgery or manipulation of the scarred shoulder under anesthesia. This manipulation is performed to physically break up the scar tissue of the joint capsule. It carries the risk of breaking the arm bone (humerus fracture). It is very important for patients that undergo manipulation to partake in an active exercise program for the shoulder after the procedure. It is only with continued exercise of the shoulder that mobility and function is optimized.

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See what others are saying

Comment from: Yupper, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: February 03

I am dealing with my second frozen shoulder. The first one, my left shoulder, was about 4 years ago. One cortisone shot and nearly a year of physical therapy gave me back full range of motion. At times the therapy was pretty rough BUT it worked, must do those home exercises twice a day, very important!! My second one is my right shoulder. Was smarter this time around and got into physical therapy much earlier and am already making progress. Again cannot emphasize the importance of home exercise.

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Comment from: steve, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: February 26

It took me over 15 months to get rid of this awful condition of frozen shoulder. I felt like I'd be ruined by this, I'm at about 90% with ROM (range of motion). Occasional pain still persists but nothing like I experienced at the beginning, my nights were awful for about 4 months I was in agony, and MRI was good. Cortisone shot did nothing at all. I was given 4 mg tablets of methylprednisolone (a steroid) and it worked like a miracle but it was temporary, and not possible to use for very long. But it helped me endure the painful stretching that physical therapy consisted of and I continued with physical therapy for over a year. Now 15 months later I'm doing well but I don't think I'll ever be pain free. This condition is terrible and my heart goes out to you if you're experiencing this but don't give up hope. Definitely do PT and endure the stretching in the end you may be ok, good luck!

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