Frozen Shoulder Treatment

There are a lot of treatment for frozen shoulder. Frozen shoulder has three main stages, each of these main stages should have a different treatment strategy.

1. Acute Stage (Painful Stage)

The painful stage can usually last between two to nine months. The pain will begin to build up around the shoulder and would spread to you elbows or forearm. Sleeping can be a problem if you lie on the painful shoulder. The shoulder range of movement will begin to reduce and the pain become unbearable.

During this stage, the best treatment option is to reduce pain as much as possible while maintaining some movement. It is important that you don't aggravate the shoulder by performing sudden movements, lifting heavy objects and reaching above your head. See your local health professional such as a physical therapist for gentle shoulder exercises (eg pendulum exercises) and the use of electrotherapy to give you pain relief. Use a heat pack or have hot showers to give you some relief and to increase blood circulation.

NSAID (Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs) is an effective medicine in reducing your pain. Try alternative medicine such as acupuncture for frozen shoulder can help relieve your pain.

2. Stiff Phase

This phase can last between four to twelve months. The shoulder pain would gradually begin to subside but your joint will increasingly stiffens up. Sleeping wouldn't be much of a problem as before but reaching activities such as putting your bra on or reaching for things above your head will be difficult.

The best thing you can do during this stage is to do range of motion exercises as much as possible. You physical therapist will give you theraband (elastic band) exercises to perform at home. The physiotherapist would progress your strengthening and stretching exercises.

3. Recovery Phase

The Recovery phase usually last between five and twenty-six months. The pain would gradually wear away and your shoulder will feel less stiff. The goals of treatment are to improve co-ordination, increase muscle strength and range of motion. A full rehabilitation exercise program should be given by your physical therapist to ensure maximal recovery.

Overall, the entire shoulder recovery process should last between one to three years. If you still have significant stiffness after one year, you may require to have surgery. There are two types of surgeries: Manipulation Under Anesthesia (MUA) and shoulder arthroscopy. These surgery will greatly improve your range of movement and stretch the shoulder capsule itself.