Frozen Shoulder Symptoms, Treatments and Risks

Frozen Shoulder Symptoms, Treatments and Risks

Don’t Let Frozen Shoulder Symptoms Get in the Way of Your Winter Activities

Have you recently experienced a traumatic shoulder injury while skiing, shoveling snow or performing heavy lifting? If your shoulder was immobilized following your injury, you may be at risk of developing an associated condition known as adhesive capsulitis, or frozen shoulder syndrome.

At OrthoAspen, we treat patients with active lifestyles—and that means a high volume of shoulder tears, fractures and dislocations that require immobilization. Consequently, we also diagnose cases of frozen shoulder that have emerged following an injury. With symptoms of pain and stiffness, this condition can seriously impact an individual’s quality of life. As a practice that’s committed to promoting active lifestyles, we’re proud to provide the most effective, targeted frozen shoulder symptom treatment for patients who develop this condition.

Frozen shoulder causes are not well-understood within the medical community. In addition to patients who have suffered shoulder injuries and had their shoulders immobilized, patients with diabetes, hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, Parkinson’s disease and cardiac disease are understood to be at heightened risk of experiencing frozen shoulder syndrome.

If you belong to any of these at-risk groups and have noticed increased pain or stiffness in your shoulder joint, keep reading to learn more about frozen shoulder and the specialized treatments available at OrthoAspen.

Frozen Shoulder: Stages and Symptoms

Frozen Shoulder Symptoms TreatmentPatients with frozen shoulder symptoms generally experience three stages of symptoms; these stages are known as freezing, frozen and thawing:

  • Freezing
    During the first stage (freezing), patients experience dull, aching shoulder joint pain that worsens over the course of six weeks to nine months. As this stage progresses, stiffness will begin to emerge within the joint.
  • Frozen
    During the second stage (frozen) symptoms of pain typically recede, but emerging stiffness transitions to reduce the mobility of the shoulder.
  • Thawing
    The third stage (thawing) of frozen shoulder syndrome involves the recession of this condition and the return of full mobility. During this stage, any residual pain will typically dissipate as well.

Whichever stage you find yourself in, OrthoAspen can provide you with targeted treatments to manage and reverse your symptoms.

Non-Surgical Frozen Shoulder Symptoms Treatments

If you’re experiencing the painful, lifestyle-compromising symptoms caused by a frozen shoulder, specialized orthopedic treatment is needed in order to provide relief and restore normal shoulder function.

At OrthoAspen, we promote the prescription of conservative, non-surgical care whenever possible. The good news is for most frozen shoulder patients, non-surgical shoulder treatments are effective and fully sufficient for reversing symptoms. Listed below are three conservative treatment options recommended by our shoulder specialists.

  1. Anti-Inflammatory Medication
    In mild cases, anti-inflammatory medications can reduce pain and swelling within the shoulder joint and relieve frozen shoulder symptoms.
  2. Frozen Shoulder Exercises and Frozen Shoulder Physical Therapy
    Physical therapy and specially-prescribed exercises can effectively loosen the shoulder joint, restoring the mobility of the shoulder.
  3. Cortisone Injections
    Injections of cortisone (a powerful steroid) can help to reduce or eliminate joint swelling.

One or a combination of the above treatment options will typically provide relief from symptoms of pain and stiffness. In some extreme cases, frozen shoulder surgery may be advised. Whatever treatment option is recommended in your case, the shoulder specialists at OrthoAspen can ensure you receive the most comprehensive, specialized care available.

To learn more about frozen shoulder symptom treatment, or to schedule an appointment today, contact OrthoAspen.


Visit OrthoAspen in two convenient locations
Aspen Clinic
Aspen Valley Hospital
0401 Castle Creek Rd., Suite 2100,

Aspen, CO 81611
+(970) 544-1289
+(970) 544-1400
Basalt Clinic
Midvalley Medical Center
1450 E. Valley Rd., Suite 201,

Basalt, CO 81621
+(970) 544-1289
+(970) 544-1400