Three percent of the population will develop frozen
shoulders in their lifetime. If you are one of those
three percent, this ebook will help you with tips and
resources to better deal with frozen shoulders.
This first set of tips will give you some basics about frozen shoulder
and will help you to understand it
Frozen shoulder is another term for Adhesive Capsulitis, a
condition that causes restricted motion in the shoulder
- What Happens
With frozen shoulder, the shoulder joint becomes stiff and
scarred. The shoulder joint usually allows more motion
than any other joint in the body. But when someone
develops a frozen shoulder, they form bands of scar tissue
called adhesions. These adhesions make the shoulder stiff,
and moving it becomes very painful.
Here are some of the symptoms associated with frozen
> A dull, aching pain in the shoulder
> Limited shoulder movement
> Activities such as brushing hair, putting on
shirts/bras become difficult
> Sleeping on the affected shoulder is painful
When diagnosing frozen shoulder, your doctor will look for
restricted movement. There are other shoulder conditions
can cause difficulty with movement of the shoulder, like a
torn rotator cuff, so it’s very important to find a doctor
familiar with this condition for a proper diagnosis. This will
be covered later in this ebook.
- Is it Curable?
95 percent of people with frozen shoulder are completely
cured. Full recovery may take several months, and there
are several things that you can do to help. We’ll review
these things a bit later in this ebook.
There are several factors that put you
at risk for developing frozen shoulder.
This next set of tips will discuss some
of these risk factors.
Trauma or Surgery
People who have had a shoulder injury, or surgery on the
shoulder are at risk of developing a frozen shoulder joint.
When injury or surgery is followed by prolonged immobility,
it can also put them at risk of developing a frozen shoulder.
People with diabetes are at risk for developing a frozen
shoulder. In fact, frozen shoulder affects 10-20 percent of
- Age and Gender
People between the ages of 40 to 60 years old have a
higher risk of developing frozen shoulder. It is also twice as
common for women to develop it as it is for men.
- Problems with Nearby Joints
If you have problems with nearby joints, you could be at
risk for frozen shoulders. For example, arthritis in the AC
joint or the neck can put you at risk.
As mentioned earlier, keeping a sore shoulder immobile can
put you at high risk for frozen shoulder. Some conditions
that could cause this include stroke, immobilizing in a
sling, or a brain or spinal injury.
- Heart or Lung Problems
Sometimes heart disease or cardiac surgery leads to frozen
shoulder. Be sure and talk to your doctor about these
important risk factors.
- Other Conditions
Other risk factors for frozen shoulder include:
> Thyroid problems
> High cholesterol
> Parkinsons disease
- No Reason
There are cases of frozen shoulder that have no reasons
whatsoever. In fact, more commonly, this is the case. Until
researchers figure out what triggers frozen shoulder, it can
be hard to find out why it happens.
There are 3 stages of frozen
shoulders. This next set of tips
will go over these stages.
The first stage is the “freezing” stage. This may last
anywhere from 6 weeks to 9 months, and the onset is slow
and painful. As the pain worsens, the shoulder loses
The second stage is the “frozen” stage. During this stage,
the pain usually gets better but the stiffness worsens. This
can last between 4-9 months.
The third stage is the “thawing” stage. This is where the
shoulder motion slowly returns to normal. This generally
lasts 5-26 months. This thawing stage is gradual can be
quite slow. But with stretches and motion, it will steadily
VISITING YOUR DOCTOR
Finding and talking to a doctor for
frozen shoulder can be difficult. This
next set of tips will help you to find a
great one, and what to expect from
her when you do.
- The Listen Factor
It’s important that your doctor is a good listener, especially
on the first visit. Make sure you tell her everything that’s
going on with your shoulder. If you’re worried about
remembering, make a list and take it with you.
- Questions Your Doctor Should Ask
Here are some questions that your doctor should/will ask:
> How did your shoulder pain start?
> Where is the pain?
> Has the pain spread?
> Did you injure yourself?
> Have you overused your arm?
> What are your other symptoms?
- Questions You Should Ask
Here are some questions that you should ask your doctor:
> What stage is my frozen shoulder in?
> What can I do to help?
> When can I expect improvement?
? What should I not do?
- Checking Your Shoulder
Your doctor should do a thorough examination of your
shoulder. During this exam, she’ll check for swelling and
- Checking Your Neck
Your doctor will also examine your neck. She’ll do this to
see whether your pain could be coming partly from your
neck instead of your shoulder.
- Checking Movement
A good doctor will also check your movement in your
shoulder. It may be a bit uncomfortable, but it’s important
that your doctor knows your range of motion.
- Blood Tests
There are some blood tests that your doctor may run.
These can help the doctor look for other medical reasons
that may be causing your shoulder pain. She may also want
to check your blood to see if you might have diabetes or
X-ray pictures can sometimes be useful in diagnosing
shoulder pain problems. It can show things like arthritis or
spondylosis in the joints. It can also show calcium in the
muscles or arthritis in the shoulder joint.
Your doctor may have an ultrasound done on your shoulder.
This scan is an excellent way to examine the muscles and
tendons around your shoulder, and it will allow your doctor
to find any inflamed or torn muscles.
MRI’s (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) are complex and
expensive, but they can provide your doctor with detailed
picture of the of your shoulder joint and its muscles. MRI’s
help doctors correctly diagnose you.
This next set of tips will discuss some
of the treatment options that may help
with your frozen shoulder.
- Moist Heat
Moist heat has been found very effective for frozen
shoulder pain. Just take a heat pad and put a moist towel
under it, and apply both to your shoulder.
Ice can help with frozen shoulder pain as well. To be the
most effective, put your ice on for 10 minutes on your
shoulder, and 10 minutes off. You can also alternate ice
and moist heat.
- Physical Therapy
Physical therapy has also helped with the pain of frozen
shoulder. If you think this would help, ask your doctor to
give you a referral for a good physical therapist.
Although anti-inflammatory medications haven’t helped
change the course of a frozen shoulder, they can give
substantial relief from the painful symptoms.
- Cortisone Injections
Your doctor may suggest one or more cortisone injections.
These injections can really help to decrease pain, and in
also let you stretch more. This is very important, because
it’s usually only effective when used together with physical
If all else fails, a surgeon may perform what’s called a
manipulation. A manipulation is done with the patient
sedated, and the doctor moves the arm to break up
adhesions caused by frozen shoulder. There are no incisions
made during the procedure.
STRETCHES AND EXERCISES
This next set of tips will give you
some great stretches and exercises
that you can do to help relieve and
treat your frozen shoulder.
- Weight Stretch
This exercise you can do while standing or sitting. Hold a 5-
to 10-pound weight in your hand (a gallon of water or milk
weighs 8 pounds) and keep your arm vertical and close to
your body. Swing your arm back and forth or in a small
- Armpit Stretch
For this exercise, put your arm onto a shelf or a dresser
about breast high. Gently bend your knees, and open your
arm pit. Try to push the arm up a little farther with each
- Stretch the Towel
For this exercise, take a bath towel and hold it with both
hands at a 45 degree angle. Use your good arm to pull the
towel toward your lower back. You can repeat this with
your towel in a horizontal position.
- Let Your Fingers Do the Walking
To do this exercise, face a wall about 18 inches away.
Using your fingers instead of your shoulder muscles, raise
your arm up to shoulder level. Repeat this 5-10 times.
- Rubber Band Pull
Grab a rubber band for these next few exercises. For this
one, hold your elbows at 90 degrees, close to your sides.
Grab the rubber band with both hands, and turn your
forearms outward only two or three inches, holding for five
seconds. Do this 5-10 times.
- Rubber Band Push
For this one, arms the same way as the previous exercise.
Hook your rubber band onto a door handle and hold it with
one hand. Turn your forearm inward two or three inches
(like a door), and hold it for five seconds. Do this 3-5
- Rubber Band Lift
Here’s another fun exercise you can do with a rubber band.
Bend your elbow again, and place the rubber band on a
door like before. Lift your arm up four or five inches away
from the body (like lifting weights), holding for five
seconds. Repeat this 3-5 times.
You can do this exercise while watching TV or sitting at a
traffic light. Simply shrug your affected shoulder up and
down slowly 5-10 times a day.
This is an exercise that you’ve probably done as a kid, but
it can help with your frozen shoulder. Simply hold your arm
out, and make circles with it. Take turns making small and
- Leg Stretches
It’s a bit unconventional, but some people find that leg
stretches can really help with frozen shoulder. For this
exercise, lay down on your back in front of a doorway. Put
one leg up the wall and one leg out flat, with you arms
resting at your side. This pose is good for stretching the
hamstrings of one leg and the hip flexors of the other. Hold
it for 2-5 minutes.
This next set of tips will discuss some other
things that you can do to help with frozen
- Extra Pillow
If you’re having trouble sleeping at night, try using an extra
pillow. Put the pillow under your affected shoulder, and
sleep on your back or side.
Massage has helped many people with frozen shoulder. The
muscles surrounding your frozen shoulder can become sore
and tired. Massage can help alleviate these sore muscles.
Here are some supplements that have been known to help
with frozen shoulder:
> Fish Oil
> Honey Bee Venom
- TENS Unit
TENS stands for Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve
Stimulation. It’s a good and safe way to help with pain and
relax muscles. It works by stimulating the skin nerves, thus
helps the brain to ignore incoming pain signals from the
- Trigger Point Therapy
Trigger point therapy is a type of specialized self massage
that weeds out and removes painful muscular contractions. It
works by applying pressure to the contractions, either with
your fingers or massage tools.
Yoga is for straightening out your whole body, and it can
really help with frozen shoulder. If you want to try yoga,
start out slow and easy. If it winds up causing you more
pain, yoga probably isn’t for you.
- Don’t Stop Moving
A common mistake of people with frozen shoulder is that
they keep it still. This is not always the best thing to do.
Gentle movement will help to keep the blood flowing to
If you don’t have frozen shoulder but are worried about
risk factors, the best way to prevent it is by doing daily
stretches. Refer to the stretches and exercise section of
this ebook for ideas.
Like every health condition or ailment, new research and
studies are being done every day to better help you cope
with frozen shoulder. Use the internet and any other
sources available to you to inform yourself of new