top of page

Frozen Shoulder

Frozen shoulder is a painful condition that affects movement of the shoulder.

Frozen shoulder is also known as adhesive capsulitis, peri-arthritis or shoulder contracture. It affects approximately 2% of the general population, most common between 40-60 age group and affects women more than men.

If you have frozen shoulder, the amount of movement in your shoulder joint will be reduced. In severe cases, you may not be able to move your shoulder at all.

The most common symptoms are pain and stiffness in the shoulder.


What causes frozen shoulder?


Frozen shoulder is caused when the flexible tissue that surrounds the shoulder joint, known as the capsule, becomes inflamed and thickened.

It is not fully understood why this happens, although there are a number of things that make developing a frozen shoulder more likely. These include having:

·       a shoulder injury or shoulder surgery

·       Diabetes

·       other health conditions, such as Heart diseases & Stroke


Stages of Frozen Shoulder


The symptoms of a frozen shoulder usually progress gradually over a number of months or years.
There are three separate stages to the condition (see below), which can sometimes be difficult to distinguish. The symptoms may also vary greatly from person to person.

Stage one
During stage one, often referred to as the 'freezing' phase, your shoulder will start to ache and become very painful when reaching.
The pain is often worse at night and when you lie on the affected side. This stage may last 2-9 months.

Stage two
Stage two is often known as the 'frozen' phase. Your shoulder may become increasingly stiff, but the pain does not usually get worse and may decrease.
Your shoulder muscles may start to waste away slightly because they are not being used. This stage lasts 4-12 months.

Stage three
Stage three is the 'thawing' phase. During this period, you will gradually regain some movement in your shoulder. The pain will begin to fade, although it may recur from time to time as the stiffness eases.
Although you may not regain full movement of your shoulder, you will be able to carry out many more tasks. Stage three can last from five months to many years.








Dr Vinod Kumar Abu Dhabi

Shoulder Surgeon Abu Dhabi

NMC Royal Hospital


Symptoms of frozen shoulder


Pain and persistent stiffness in the shoulder joint are the two main symptoms of a frozen shoulder.

This makes it painful and difficult to carry out the full range of normal shoulder movements. You may find it difficult to perform everyday tasks such as:

·       bathing

·       dressing

·       driving

·       sleeping comfortably


Symptoms may vary from mild, with little interference to daily activities, to severe, where it may not be possible to move your shoulder at all.

Dr Vinod Kumar Cochin
Shoulder Surgeon Cochin

Arthroscopic view inside a normal shoulder (on the left) and an inflammed scarred frozen shoulder (on the right)



Treatment for a frozen shoulder will vary depending on the stage of the condition and  severity of your pain and stiffness.
A frozen shoulder may get better naturally, but recovery is often slow and may take at least 18-24 months.
The aim of treatment is to keep your shoulder joint as pain free and mobile as possible while your shoulder heals.


The options of treatment that will be discussed by your surgeon are:


1. Pain-killers

2. Physical Therapy

3. Cortico-steroid and local anaesthetic injections

4. Procedures - 

        Manipulation under anaesthesia 

       Arthroscopic (Key-hole) surgery for release of stiffness.




Dr Vinod Kumar Abu Dhabi

Shoulder Surgeon Abu Dhabi

NMC Royal Hospital



bottom of page