Frozen shoulder

A condition where inflammation around the shoulder joint causes stiffness and pain. Find out more about the symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment options available at Cromwell Hospital.

What is frozen shoulder?

Frozen shoulder is a condition that can last from a few months to a couple of years. When the tissues surrounding the shoulder joint become inflamed they tighten and shrink causing stiffness and pain in the shoulder area.

What causes frozen shoulder?

The chances of developing frozen shoulder increase:

  • if you have diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, or an overactive or underactive thyroid.
  • if you are over 40, and it is more common in women.
  • if you have had a previous shoulder injury and movement of the arm has been restricted.
  • if you have had shoulder surgery and movement of the arm has been restricted.

Signs and symptoms of frozen shoulder

If you have frozen shoulder you may experience:

  • gradually worsening pain and stiffness.
  • pain can be worse at night when sleeping.
  • difficulty moving your arm and shoulder.

How is frozen shoulder diagnosed?

To determine if you have frozen shoulder, your orthopaedic consultant will take a detailed history and will need to know about any previous injuries and what exercise you currently do.

You’ll be asked to move your shoulder through a range of movements so your orthopaedic consultant can assess your shoulder and see which area is causing the problem.

Your orthopaedic consultant may also suggest an X-ray or MRI scan to aid their diagnosis or check for another condition.

Treatment for frozen shoulder

Your orthopaedic consultant will develop a personalised treatment plan based on your symptoms; it may include a combination of the treatments outlined below:

  • avoid movements or specific exercises that cause pain.
  • use pain relief to manage pain and reduce swelling.
  • physiotherapy, to help increase and improve movement in the shoulder, and strengthen your shoulder muscles.
  • steroid injections in the shoulder.

Book an appointment today

Our telephone lines are open 8am to 8pm Monday to Friday and 8am to 2pm Saturdays.

Please note - regrettably we are unable to answer specific medical questions or offer medical advice via email or telephone.