What is Frozen Shoulder?

  • Inability to move shoulder on your own, or with help from others
  • Develops in three stages – freezing, frozen, thawing
  • No clear cause for the condition

Frozen Shoulder describes a condition where the shoulder is unable to move. The shoulder capsule that encases the shoulder joint and rotator cuff tendons thickens and tightens, adhesions develop and the amount of lubricating synovial fluid in the joint is significantly reduced. Also called adhesive capsulitis, the shoulder becomes painful and stiff and over time, extremely hard to move. Frozen shoulder follows a cycle of development and resolution that can last up to three years:

  • Freezing is the onset of the condition. The pain level intensifies and the should loses its range of motion
  • Frozen is the middle stage where pain may level off or decrease slightly, but stiffness and immobility remain
  • Thawing is the resolution stage where the shoulder gradually regains its ability to move. Pain levels are more intense in the freezing and frozen stages and when you try to move your arm

The pain is generally centered over the outer shoulder and upper arm.

Our Treatment Approach

Lumin OrthoCARE shoulder specialists have treated thousands of patients with Frozen Shoulder. They are knowledgeable and experienced in diagnosing and treating the condition in the manner best suited to your specific health situation. Nine out of 10 individuals with Frozen Shoulder improve with fairly conservative treatments aimed at reducing pain and improving motion. These approaches include:

  • Over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications
  • Steroid injections
  • Physical therapy to increase strength, flexibility and range of motion If non-surgical treatments do not relieve your condition, your physician may recommend surgery

Surgery is designed to stretch and release the stiffened joint capsule.

The two most common surgical treatments are:

  • Manipulation under anesthesia
  • Shoulder arthroscopy using minimally invasive surgical techniques and specially designed equipment

In many instances, your physician may combine both surgical approaches to deliver the optimum outcome.


We are not sure why Frozen Shoulder occurs. But, a few factors may contribute to developing the condition:

  • Extended periods of immobility of the shoulder after surgery, a fracture or other injury
  • Diabetes – two out of ten diabetics develop this condition
  • Other medical issues including Parkinson’s disease, cardiac disease, hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism


  • Dull, aching pain that intensifies over time
  • Increasing pain over the outer shoulder and upper arm

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