Frozen Shoulder: Causes, Symptoms And Treatment

In this video, Airrosti’s Dr. Marcus Johnson explains the symptoms and causes of frozen shoulder. This condition greatly reduces the range of motion of the ball and socket joint in the shoulder. This stiffness may also trigger nagging pain. Learn how Airrosti’s treatment pinpoints and treats the injury directly at the source to eliminate our patients’ in an average of just three visits. Click here to learn more about Airrosti’s consistent results.


Frozen shoulder, also known as adhesive capsulitis, is a condition characterized by stiffness and pain in your shoulder joint. The bones, ligaments, and tendons that make up your shoulder joint are encased in a capsule of connective tissue. Frozen shoulder occurs when this capsule thickens and tightens around the shoulder joint, restricting its movement.

Signs and symptoms typically begin gradually, worsen over time and then resolve, usually within one to three years. If you’ve injured your shoulder or are suffering from chronic shoulder pain, and you don’t use your shoulder for a long time, your joint will stiffen up. From there, it becomes a vicious cycle. If your joint begins to stiffen up, it’s more difficult and painful to use your shoulder, so you use your shoulder even less. Eventually, the lining of the joint will get stiff, severely limiting shoulder movement.

Frozen shoulder typically begins slowly and in three stages. Each stage can last a number of months. The first stage is the freezing stage. Any movement of your shoulder causes pain, and your shoulder’s range of motion starts to become limited. You then move into the frozen stage, where pain may begin to diminish, but your shoulder becomes stiffer and more difficult to use. Finally, you enter the thawing stage. Range of motion typically begins to improve in this stage, but pain may worsen at night and potentially disrupt sleep.

It’s unusual for frozen shoulder to recur in the same shoulder, but some people can develop it in the opposite shoulder. Certain factors may increase your risk of developing frozen shoulder. People who are 40 and older, particularly women, are more susceptible. People who’ve had prolonged immobility or reduced mobility of the shoulder are at significantly higher risk of developing frozen shoulder.


Frozen shoulder generally gets better over time, although it may take up to 3 years. The focus of traditional treatment is typically to manage the pain; controlling the symptoms without resolving the true source of pain. Your doctor is likely to order x-rays and/or imaging to determine what’s causing your shoulder pain. Non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory medicines are often prescribed to reduce pain and swelling. In more severe cases, steroid injections are often prescribed in which cortisone is injected directly into the shoulder joint. Injections can be quite painful, and the pain relieving effects typically last for only a short period of time. Physical therapy may be prescribed to increase strength and range-of-motion in the shoulder. In a small percentage of cases, arthroscopic surgery may be indicated to loosen the joint capsule so that it can move more freely.

Airrosti can help dramatically reduce your recovery time and help you avoid costly and invasive procedures. By accurately diagnosing and focusing on the true source of pain, and then resolving the injury to the shoulder using highly specific manual therapy, our providers are able to resolve your injury typically within three visits based on patient-reporting outcomes. Discover how Airrosti works.

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