Frozen Shoulder Treatment


Most often, the frozen shoulder is diagnosed with a physical examination. Your doctor assesses the severity of the condition by examining the active and passive range of motion of the joint. Sometimes, imaging tests like X-ray and MRI are recommended to rule out other causes of pain.


Treatment of Frozen Shoulder

Frozen shoulder generally gets better over time, although it may take up to 3 years.

The focus of treatment is to control pain and restore motion and strength through physical therapy.

More than 90% of patients improve with relatively simple treatments to control pain and restore motion.

Non-surgical treatment

Non-surgical treatment of frozen shoulder includes taking medications such as pain relievers like NSAIDs, cortisone injections and physical therapy. Physical exercises should be done under the supervision of a physical therapist.

Surgical Treatment

If non-surgical treatments are not helpful, surgery may be considered. Main aim of the surgery is to stretch and release the stiffness of the capsule. One of these two techniques is adopted for the surgery:

  • Manipulation—in this procedure, your doctor moves your shoulder in different directions under anesthesia. It causes the stretch of the scar tissue and releases the stiffness of the joint.
  • Arthroscopy—this procedure is done to remove the scar tissue and adhesions using a small pencil-sized instrument called arthroscope.


In some cases, both of these techniques are done in combination for a better result. The surgery has usually a good success rate; however, in some patients, pain may recur if other contributing factors like diabetes are present.



Physical therapy is started soon after surgery to maintain the motion achieved with surgery.
Recovery period may last from a few weeks to three months.


American Academy of Orthopaedic surgeons
Mayo Clinic