Frozen shoulder means your shoulder is painful and stiff for months, sometimes years. It can be treated with shoulder exercises and painkillers.
These are symptoms of frozen shoulder.
Broadly, treatment works in 3 main steps:
You may get a mix of these treatments depending on how painful and stiff your shoulder is.
Stronger pain relief is usually only used for a short time because it can cause side effects.
Physiotherapy can help you get movement back in your shoulder.
A physiotherapist will decide the number of sessions you need. The exact number depends on how your shoulder responds to treatment.
The physiotherapist will first check how much movement you have in your shoulders.
Treatments from a physiotherapist include:
If you're still in pain after you have finished your sessions, go back to your GP or physiotherapist. They might prescribe more physiotherapy or try another treatment.
Many physiotherapists work at GP surgeries. In some areas, you can ask to see a physiotherapist without seeing a GP first.
You can also get physiotherapy privately.
Frozen shoulder can take at least 1.5 to 2 years to get better. Sometimes it can be up to 5 years.
But the pain and stiffness will usually go away eventually.
It's often not clear why people get a frozen shoulder.
Frozen shoulder happens when the tissue around your shoulder joint becomes inflamed.
The tissue then gets tighter and shrinks, which causes pain.
Frozen shoulder can happen because:
Page last reviewed: Fri Jan 2021 Next review due: Fri Jan 2021