1. Why did I develop a frozen shoulder?
We do not have a good explanation for the development of frozen
shoulder in most patients.
The majority of cases seem to be more prevalent in women, diabetics,
and those with hypothyroidism. Others who develop frozen shoulder
are those who have sustained an injury and developed stiffness as
a result. The trauma can be quite mild or severe, and the bodys
response to the event is probably more important than the event
2. How can frozen shoulder be treated?
The resolution of a frozen shoulder can be very slow, but physical
therapy can speed up the healing process. Frozen shoulder begins
with pain followed by the rapid development of stiffness. Usually
when the pain starts to subside physical therapy can be effective
in stretching the capsule back out. Occasionally in unmanageable
cases surgery is indicated. This is true only in cases in which the pain has
subsided and the residual capsular contracture has not responded
to six months or more of physical therapy. Early surgery in the
face of frozen shoulder will lead to more problems with stiffness
I have been diagnosed with a rotator cuff tear in addition to frozen
shoulder; why wont the surgeon repair the rotator cuff now?
Surgery in the face of a frozen shoulder is not recommended because
of the immobilization required after a rotator cuff repair. The
shoulder becomes more inflamed after the surgery and the immobilization
required to heal the cuff repair leads to increased stiffness. The
only way to deal with this combination of problems is to allow physical
therapy to stretch out the frozen shoulder. Once that has been accomplished,
the rotator cuff repair can be performed. The shoulder will probably
be stiffer than the average cuff repair after the immobilization
period ends, but research has shown that physical therapy can help
regain lost motion.