Treatments & Conditions | Hand Microsurgery in Erie, PA

Frozen Shoulder

Frozen shoulder causes pain and stiffness in the shoulder and over time, the shoulder becomes very hard to move. It most commonly affects people between the ages of 40 and 60, and occurs in women more often than men. With frozen shoulder, the shoulder capsule thickens and becomes tight, which causes stiff bands of tissue to begin to develop. There are three stages of frozen shoulder which include:

  • Freezing: During this stage, you slowly begin to have more and more pain. As the pain worsens, your shoulder loses range of motion. Freezing typically lasts from 6 weeks to 9 months.
  • Frozen: Painful symptoms may actually improve during this stage, but the stiffness remains. During the 4 to 6 months of the "frozen" stage, daily activities may be very difficult.
  • Thawing: Shoulder motion slowly improves during the "thawing" stage. Complete return to normal or close to normal strength and motion typically takes from 6 months to 2 years.

Pain from frozen shoulder is usually dull or aching, and is typically worse early in the course of the disease. The pain is usually located over the outer shoulder area and sometimes the upper arm. The causes of frozen shoulder are not fully understood. A few factors may put you more at risk for developing frozen shoulder such as diabetes, immobilization, and other diseases.

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