Frozen shoulder is such a painful condition that patients in the past have equated to being tormented by a medieval torture rack. Because it tends to arise, progress, and ultimately dissipate without any particular cause or warning, many patients find themselves mystified by the condition.

This article helps to demystify the various stages and remedies associated with frozen shoulder, covering everything from the freeze to the thaw. Although restricted movement and steroid injections remain common prescriptions, some cases will require more aggressive intervention:

In certain severe case a manipulation under general anaesthesia maybe necessary though stringent exercise following this is essential for a good outcome. Resistant case[s] may need an Arthroscopic Capsular release surgery. Open releases have become obsolete with the advent of Arthroscopic Surgeries (key hole surgeries) which are definitely less morbid and have a faster recovery period.

If you are dealing with the immobility and distress of frozen shoulder, please contact a San Diego orthopedic surgeon today.


Frozen shoulder, otherwise known as adhesive capsulitis, is a painful and paralyzing shoulder condition. Although it can take weeks or even months to fully develop, most people find the initial symptoms concerning enough to seek help.

The simple truth is that this is a terrible ailment that can take upwards of a year to resolve.  Patients with diabetes and/or hypothyroidism, especially women, are particularly vulnerable to this problem.  It may start as a result of a simple slip and fall or other seemingly insignificant shoulder injury.  The pain is extraordinarily high and profoundly limits life style.  Often times the patients find that they cannot sleep through the night, they have pain reaching behind them for hygiene or dressing, and they have pain reaching overhead.

But what kind of help is considered the most effective course of treatment? I have written before about the vast benefits of shoulder exercises for orthopedic pain, and about the growing consensus that pain relief can be covered at home nearly as well as it can at the hospital or clinic. Now researchers have found good evidence that simple exercise can be a “drug” all its own.  In this study exercise was used as a treatment measure in various settings.  After dividing patients with frozen shoulder into three groups – some patients were placed in an exercise class; a second group were to perform individual physical therapy; a third group were to perform individual home exercises.  Researchers found the most dramatic improvement among the group exercisers:

They discovered improvement in the exercise class group from a mean Constant Score of 39.8 at baseline to 71.4 at 6 weeks and 88.1 at 1 year, as well as a significant improvement in shoulder symptoms in the Oxford and Constant scores compared to the individual physiotherapy or home exercises alone groups.

This is a good sign that getting out of the house and remaining active can help to “thaw” a frozen shoulder, and may also prevent further recurrence of the problem. If you’d like to learn more about the latest advances in shoulder pain management, please contact my San Diego orthopedic shoulder surgery offices today.

© 2023 Dr. Robert Afra – San Diego Orthopedic Surgery Shoulder – Knee – Elbow