What Are the Symptoms of Frozen Shoulder?


Quick Answer

Symptoms of frozen shoulder include pain, decreased range of motion and stiffness in the affected shoulder. When there is no known cause, the condition typically begins with severe shoulder pain that restricts movement, says PubMed Health.

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Full Answer

Frozen shoulder usually develops in three stages, and each stage may last for several months, states Mayo Clinic. The first stage is the most painful stage, during which the patient feels pain when he moves his shoulder, limiting his range of motion. The pain often worsens at night, disrupting sleep. The frozen stage comes next, during which the pain may decrease while the shoulder becomes stiffer, noticeably restricting the patient's range of motion. The third stage is the thawing stage, during which the patient's range of motion begins improving.

A frozen shoulder often improves without treatment in up to two years, and some patients experience little motion restriction, according to PubMed Health. However, the condition can be treated with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, steroid injections or physical therapy. With steroid injections and physical therapy, recovery may take six to nine months. When nonsurgical treatment is ineffective, surgery is recommended. Shoulder arthroscopy requires anesthesia and involves releasing the scar tissue. It might also involve cutting tight ligaments and removing scar tissue.

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