How to Cure Frozen Shoulders Quickly at Home?

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Medically Reviewed by Dr. Aman Priya Khanna
Written by Charu Shrivastava, last updated on 30 September 2023
How to Cure Frozen Shoulders Quickly at Home?

Muscle stiffness can be commonly seen. However, prolonged muscle stiffness often indicates serious root causes. One of them being frozen shoulders. People suffering from frozen shoulders might have limited movement, preventing them from rotating the arm above shoulder level.


Adhesive capsulitis or frozen shoulders can be caused due to multiple reasons. Pain and stiffness tend to appear gradually and can deteriorate at times causing discomfort. At this stage, many people wonder how to cure frozen shoulders quickly.  There are some effective ways to reduce shoulder pain though the full recovery may take up to three years.

Understanding Frozen Shoulder

Three bones join together to form a ball and socket joint in the shoulder. The clavicle, scapula, and humerus are in the upper arm (collar bone). Tissue around the shoulder joints holds everything together. It is known as a shoulder capsule. The capsule thickens and hardens in a frozen shoulder, making movement difficult. Scar tissue forms, and there is less synovial fluid to keep it together which further restricts movement.
Frozen shoulders result in immense discomfort in the arms and shoulders, making simple tasks like getting dressed and taking a shower seem almost impossible. There is frequently little to no damage, and there is no particular shoulder test to identify frozen shoulders. A limited and painful range of motion (ROM) in the shoulder is an obvious sign of a frozen shoulder. 
Frozen shoulder symptoms can last anywhere from 18 months to three years. Even without treatment, most people with frozen shoulders regain normal levels of movement and function within two years. Most frozen shoulder treatments focus on minimising shoulder stiffness and preserving as much range of motion as possible.
A visit to the physical therapist can help regain the regular use of the arm if the shoulders freeze. Physical therapists help relieve shoulder pain along with tips for faster recovery.

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What Causes Frozen Shoulders?

  1. Scarring, inflammation, shrinkage, and thickening of the capsule that encloses the healthy shoulder joint 
  2. Any shoulder injury, such as tendinitis, bursitis, and rotator cuff syndrome.
  3. Patients with diabetes, chronic shoulder arthritis, or who have recently undergone breast surgery are more likely to experience frozen shoulders.
  4. If the shoulder joint is immobile for an extended period. 
  5. Women are more likely than men to experience frozen shoulders, which most frequently affects people between the ages of 40 and 60.
There are typically three stages of frozen shoulders; freezing, adhesive and thawing. Depending upon the severity of the problem and how long the pain lasts, one stays in a particular stage before complete recovery is made.
Different stages of frozen shoulders are:
  1. Stage 1: Freezing
    Shoulder movements become more difficult and forceful as the pain gets worse. The pain typically worsens at night. The duration of this stage can range from six weeks to nine months.
  2. Stage 2: Adhesive
    At this point, the pain can be lessened and does not cause much trouble. Shoulders stay rigid. Movement may be limited, and it may take 4 to 6 months.
  3. Stage 3: Thawing
    Movement becomes more at ease before returning to normal. The discomfort may lessen, but occasionally it comes back. Between six months and two years pass in this stage.

How to Treat Frozen Shoulders?

The goal is to keep shoulders flexible and mobile while also relieving pain. Nine out of ten patients feel better after treatment. However, recovery may take a while, and symptoms may persist for years. The pain and stiffness from a frozen shoulder can stay for up to three years if left untreated. While wondering what is the best treatment for a frozen shoulder, many people try out different treatments. There are numerous methods for reducing pain and treating the condition. The following options can help cure a frozen shoulder:
  1. Physical Therapy
    The most common treatment for frozen shoulders is physiotherapy. The goal is to stretch the shoulder joint and regain lost range of motion. It can take anywhere from a few weeks to nine months to make progress. If no improvement is seen even after six months of daily exercising, it is advised to consult with an expert doctor for guidance. Stretching exercises that can be beneficial include:
    1. Walking up the wall with the fingers
    2. Bringing both hands forward and pulling one arm across the chest with the other.
    3. Using a cane or broomstick to rotate the arm
    4. Pulling one's arm behind one's back
    5. One can also try other pain relief methods, including cold or hot thermal packs and transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation devices (TENS). These work by numbing pain-controlling nerve endings in the spinal cord. The TENS device sends small electrodes or electric pads to the affected shoulder's skin.
  2. Medication
    Anti-inflammatory drugs may be prescribed by a doctor to treat pain and reduce joint inflammation. Steroid injections into the shoulder joint may also be beneficial. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can reduce inflammation and mild pain. Since not all pain relievers are appropriate for every patient, it is critical to consult with a doctor about the options.
  3. Home Care
    Ever thought about how to cure frozen shoulder at home? One can relieve pain by applying an ice pack to the shoulder for 15 minutes daily. Exercise can also be done at home while working with a physiotherapist. The physical therapist will instruct on what type of exercise to do, how often to do it, and when to push harder. Compression packs, whether hot or cold, can help relieve pain and swelling. Alternating between the two can be beneficial.
  4. Corticosteroid Injection
    This injection shot is effective in reducing the overall inflammation of specific joints, including the shoulders. They offer quick pain relief while having little to no side effects. 
  5. Joint Distension
    This uses the injection of sterile water for loosening the adhesions. It expands the area and brings relief to the shoulder. This is effective in ensuring that the shoulder is not restricted. 
  6. Shoulder Manipulation
    During shoulder manipulation, the doctor tends to move the arm and reduce the stiffness in the shoulder joint. This is achieved by breaking the adhesions and results in a significant increase in the range of motion. 
  7. Surgery
    The doctor may advise surgery if therapy and other conservative measures do not help bring relief to the shoulder pain. In the shoulder arthroscopy procedure, minor cuts are made over the tight areas of your joint, and the scar tissue is removed. It is one of the best treatments for frozen shoulders and is often done under general anaesthesia.  
    Surgery is typically performed as an outpatient procedure. In ten days, the stitches will most likely be taken out. Physical therapy after surgery is often necessary. Within three months, many patients can move freely. Since the surgery entails dangers, one must consult a medical professional before choosing the procedure.

Takeaway

It is paramount to speak with a doctor if you have frozen shoulders to ensure you get proper care and are guided towards the right course of action. Physical therapy can undoubtedly assist you in managing the pain and improving shoulder mobility so that you can resume regular activities. Anyone who has sustained an injury should consult a physician about exercises to keep the shoulder joint mobile and flexible.
If you are looking for a trusted doctor to get in-depth consultation and the best treatment for frozen shoulders, it is time to turn to HexaHealth. Being a patient-first HealthTech platform having the largest network of hospitals across the nation, we provide you with top-notch surgical support. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the fastest way to cure frozen shoulders?

Swing your arm gently back and forth or in circles while letting it hang down like a pendulum. Walk your fingers up a wall as though they were your feet. The majority of frozen shoulder treatments aim to reduce shoulder pain and preserve as much shoulder range of motion as possible.

Can frozen shoulders be cured naturally?

Whether or not they are treated, frozen shoulders typically get better on their own in 6 to 12 months, though this can occasionally take up to 18 months. Without treatment, the range of motion usually returns gradually, but it's possible that it never fully recovers.

What aggravates a frozen shoulder?

One should also know how to cure a frozen shoulder quickly at home. People with frozen shoulders should avoid all Vata-aggravating diets and lifestyle practices. Frozen foods, carbonated beverages, fast food, stale food, packaged foods, chips, popcorn, white flour (refined flour) products, ice cream, and stimulants such as tea, coffee, or alcohol should be avoided.

What exercises are best for frozen shoulders?

In order to stretch the shoulder, lift the affected arm at the elbow with your good arm and bring it up and across your body. For 15 to 20 seconds, keep the stretch in place. Do this ten to twenty times daily.

What should you not do with a frozen shoulder?

All diets and lifestyle choices that aggravate pain should be avoided by individuals with frozen shoulders. Avoid eating or drinking ice cream, frozen food, carbonated beverages, fast food, stale food, packaged food, chips, popcorn, and anything made with white flour (refined flour).

What are the first signs of a frozen shoulder?

  1. Every time you try to move the shoulder, you experience pain.
  2. Stiffness that makes moving the shoulder challenges.
  3. The upper arm hurts.
  4. Inability to sleep.

Can frozen shoulders happen suddenly?

Frozen shoulder is specific to this area of the arm, even though arthritis can affect joints anywhere in the body. The onset of the condition can be sudden or gradual, and it frequently co-occurs with: Recovering from a medical condition, such as a mastectomy or stroke.

Can frozen shoulders be seen on X-ray?

While frozen shoulders can be diagnosed by identifying the symptoms alone, an X-ray can help detect other possible shoulder-related issues. It will help you understand whether there is any damage to the bones as well.

Is heat good for frozen shoulders?

Heat, stretching, over-the-counter pain relievers, and physiotherapy are one of the best treatments for frozen shoulders.

How do I know if my frozen shoulder is on the verge of thawing?

  1. Shoulder stiffness has been reduced. One of the first signs that the frozen shoulder is thawing is that the shoulder is no longer as stiff as it once was.
  2. Recover lost movements.
  3. Increased Range of Motion.

What movement hurts the frozen shoulder?

Any type of rigorous or physical activity tends to hurt if you are suffering from frozen shoulders. If the condition is severe, the pain might also come in the way of daily routine tasks.

Is frozen shoulder permanent?

A frozen shoulder can take at least 1.5 to 3 years to thaw out. Sometimes it can be longer. However, the discomfort and stiffness will usually pass eventually.

How do you unfreeze a frozen shoulder?

A frozen shoulder will eventually thaw without treatment, but the full range of motion is unlikely to return. The majority of patients see improvements with relatively straightforward treatments like range-of-motion exercises. Nonprescription painkillers are frequently used as part of treatment to ease discomfort and inflammation. In case of severe pain, you might need a surgical procedure.

What do physical therapists do for frozen shoulders?

The primary aim of physical therapists is to restore the movement of your shoulders. They strive to increase the range of motion while effectively reducing your pain. This is done by opting for joint mobilisation and targeted exercises.

Can you stop frozen shoulders from progressing?

Even without treatment, the majority of frozen shoulder sufferers eventually recover. However, until your shoulder heals, appropriate treatment can help lessen pain and enhance shoulder mobility. The course of treatment you receive will depend on how severe and advanced your frozen shoulder is

What is the best medication for frozen shoulders?

Painkillers like ibuprofen are trusted to bring immediate relief to your shoulder pain. However, one must opt for a dedicated treatment to get long-lasting results.

What are 5 frozen shoulder exercises for quick relief?

Some of the most common exercises that help with treating frozen shoulders include shoulder pendulum, shoulder shrug cane exercise, advanced anterior shoulder stretch, internal rotation, and extension cane exercises.

Updated on : 30 September 2023

Reviewer

Dr. Aman Priya Khanna

Dr. Aman Priya Khanna

MBBS, DNB General Surgery, Fellowship in Minimal Access Surgery, FIAGES

12 Years Experience

Dr Aman Priya Khanna is a well-known General Surgeon, Proctologist and Bariatric Surgeon currently associated with HealthFort Clinic, Health First Multispecialty Clinic in Delhi. He has 12 years of experience in General Surgery and worke...View More

Author

Charu Shrivastava

Charu Shrivastava

BSc. Biotechnology I MDU and MSc in Medical Biochemistry (HIMSR, Jamia Hamdard)

2 Years Experience

Skilled in SEO and passionate about creating informative and engaging medical content. Her proofreading and content writing for medical websites is impressive. She creates informative and engaging content that educ...View More

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