Patience and therapy combine to make the best treatment plan for frozen shoulder, states Mayo Clinic. Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medicines, such as ibuprofen and naproxen, reduce the swelling and pain, and therapy retains the maximum range of motion as the frozen shoulder heals.
Frozen shoulder, also known as adhesive capsulitis, strikes about 2 percent of the population, affecting people between 40 and 60 years of age, with more women than men suffering from the condition, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. The connective tissue in the frozen capsule thickens and stiffens, and adhesions develop. Often, the synovial fluid that keeps the joint lubricated has diminished. As the condition sets in, pain increases and mobility decreases over one to nine months. After staying "frozen" for up to six months, the shoulder begins to thaw over six months to two years.
Even during the freezing process, working with a physical therapist minimizes the degree to which the shoulder freezes, as stated by Mayo Clinic. This therapy should continue through the frozen stage, and most cases of frozen shoulder start to show improvement within six months to a year. If the symptoms persist, such interventions as steroid injections, joint distension (injection of sterile water into the capsule to ease movement), shoulder manipulation (moving the shoulder while the patient is under anesthetic) and surgery for the adhesions all have worked for other patients.