If you’re having trouble lifting your arm
above your head, reaching across your body or behind your back,
you may have a problem with the range of motion in your shoulder.
Limited motion is an early symptom of a frozen shoulder, which is
a general term denoting all causes of motion loss in the shoulder.
more women than men.
onset begins between ages 40 and 65.
approximately 10% to 20% of diabetics.
predisposing factors include: - A period of enforced
immobility, resulting from trauma, overuse injuries or
surgery. - Hyperthyroidism. - Cardiovascular disease -
Clinical depression. - Parkinson’s disease.
of frozen shoulder
cause of frozen shoulder is unknown, but it probably involves an
underlying inflammatory process. The capsule surrounding the
shoulder joint thickens and contracts. This leaves less space for
the upper arm bone (humerus) to move around. Frozen shoulder can
also develop after a prolonged immobilization because of trauma or
surgery to the joint. Usually only one shoulder is affected,
although in about one-third of cases, motion may be limited in
stages of development
shoulder develops slowly, and in three stages.
One: Pain increases with movement and is often worse at night.
There is a progressive loss of motion with increasing pain.
This stage lasts approximately 2 to 9 months.
Two: Pain begins to diminish, and moving the arm is more
comfortable. However, the range of motion is now much more
limited, as much as 50 percent less than in the other arm.
This stage may last 4 to 12 months.
Three: The condition begins to resolve. Most patients
experience a gradual restoration of motion over the next 12 to
42 months; surgery may be required to restore motion for some
physician will test the range of motion in your arm and may ask
for an X-ray to rule out any underlying condition. Treatment is
geared to relieving the discomfort and restoring motion and
function to the shoulder.
(such as aspirin or ibuprofen) to reduce the inflammation and
relieve the pain.
program of physical therapy, often combined with home
exercises and other therapies, to stretch and help restore
motion and function.
or ice therapies.
exercises, such as those described below, done several times a
is an option, but only if there is no improvement after several
months. Arthroscopic surgery can successfully release and repair
the shoulder, but it must be followed by an exercise program to
maintain motion and restore function.
you have a stiff shoulder, see your physician to make sure you do
not have any internal injury before starting any exercise program.
It is important that you follow your physician’s instructions
carefully, especially regarding an exercise program. With your
doctor’s approval, you can do these simple exercises to help
stretch and keep your shoulder mobile:
Overhead stretch: Lie on your back with your arms at your sides.
Lift one arm straight up and over your head. Grab your elbow with
your other arm and exert gentle pressure to stretch the arm as far
as you can.
2. Cross-body reach: Stand and lift one
arm straight out to the side. Keeping the arm at the same
height, bring it to the front and across your body. As it
passes the front of your body, grab the elbow with your
other arm and exert gentle pressure to stretch the
3. Towel stretch: Drape a towel over the
opposite shoulder, and grab it with your hand behind your
back. Gently pull the towel upward with your other hand.
You should feel the stretch in your shoulder and upper