Frozen Shoulder Treatment Options

Frozen Shoulder Treatment Options

Frozen shoulder is a debilitating condition that can affect anyone, but often occurs more frequently in women than men, most frequently between 50-60 and can be painful to manage. The first step in frozen shoulder treatment is often simple pain management through ice packs or massaging the affected area. Providing some range of motion exercises follows, as well as introducing heat therapy, particularly with aromatherapy, during this process of frozen shoulder treatment to improve mobility.

Here are a few treatments you can do at home: 

Rest Your Shoulder

During the frozen shoulder initial stage, the shoulder goes through a "freezing" phase; causing severe pain at night and rendering the joint stiff. The best way to manage something like frozen shoulders would be to take it easy by resting from repetitive motions. That should not mean one should immobilize his/her shoulder completely, since keeping them moving even a bit can help in the long run, rather than taking a more drastic measure that could impede their recovery process.

Heat & Cold therapy for Shoulder Pain

Frozen shoulder is actually a common injury that can form from seemingly any kind of shoulder damage. In certain situations, it may be beneficial to use cold therapy pack, as this can constrict blood vessels and minimize swelling by numbing the area. But for soreness and pain caused by simple overuse, heat will ultimately be more soothing and beneficial for improving healing time.

Nursing an injury is difficult. The cold helps with the swelling and discomfort, but as you wait for it to go away, there are moments when you want to take all the pain away. This is why we recommend both herbal heating pads and cold therapy packs. While they do bring a great deal of relief, it's important not to overdo it; after all, too much heat can lead to discoloration or even bruising!

Use cold for the first three days after an injury, and then introduce heat. Bringing in the heat too soon can cause bruising or excessive swelling.

Shoulder Stretches & Exercises

During the painful process of healing from a frozen shoulder, one should consider some stretching and exercises that will help restore normal range of motion in the affected arm. Some specific range of motion exercises will work best in the recovery process, while specific passive range of motion movements can be helpful and advisable.

Seemingly simple tasks like brushing your teeth or combing your hair become increasingly difficult with a frozen shoulder. Therefore, procrastinating on implementing these routine tasks could lead to possibly missing other important aspects of life, such as a job interview or date with a significant other, if you're lucky enough to find one! Start doing universal stretches for the shoulders regularly for about ten minutes three times a day.

Wearing a Shoulder Support

If a shoulder injury caused your frozen shoulder, like a rotator cuff tear, you should wear a sling or brace so that you can support and immobilize your shoulder while it heals.

If you do not have any underlying shoulder injuries, we advise against using a shoulder brace. Wearing it might suggest you are carrying around an injury that you might not have, and this could cause people to question it, or even assume the worst.

Generally when dealing with frozen shoulders, moving around is vital to stopping progression of this condition, as well as preventing your pain from worsening, since movement speeds up blood circulation to the areas where tendons and ligaments attach to joints.

Many people deal with moderate to severe pain, and sometimes it can be challenging to overcome. The good news is that NSAID medications like ibuprofen or naproxen can help manage your pain and ensure you don't overwhelm yourself as you regain what you've lost through physical therapy. However, many of these medications come with serious risks, so please speak with your physician before taking any of them.

Massage Relief

If you suffer from a frozen shoulder, massaging your muscles could be a great way to ease the stress that generally comes with it. Relaxing, self-massage tools are designed to make applying pressure easier, and can be used on almost any part of the body. For back pain relief, these tools can come in insanely handy for people of all ages!

TENS Therapy

Similar to massage and acupuncture, a transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) unit is a small device that uses adhesive patches placed on the body to deliver a small electrical current. It isn't painful and thought to relieve pain by either interrupting the pain pathways or releasing endorphins, which are hormone-blocking painkillers; both fairly effective treatments. You can use the TENS unit on your upper arm and shoulder to relieve the pain related to frozen shoulder - an excellent treatment where medication is not required. The TENS unit is easy to wear and so versatile, you will want one for home!

Professional and Medical Care

While some frozen shoulder treatment can be performed at home, you will need to see a healthcare professional to keep track of what is going on. The most common symptom of frozen shoulder is pain in the shoulder region, and you should follow these steps for effective treatment.

Physical Therapy

To treat frozen shoulders, physical therapists rely on therapies and exercises. This can include muscle massaging, range of motion training (stretching), and ultrasound therapy. In addition to these therapies, you may also be instructed in exercises that are gentler on the joints due to their reduced pressure, as well as strengthening exercises for your neck, back, and arm muscles. These treatments, alongside various other things like over the counter pain meds for pain management, are essential for healing. Therefore, respect your physical therapist’s medical advice by following their recommended treatment plan to expedite the healing process. It’s important to keep your doctor updated about any changes in this condition, so don’t skip out on sessions with your physical therapist!

Steroid Injection

Corticosteroid injections can provide some short-term relief from frozen shoulders. This method works best if used at the onset of the disease. The procedure is directly done by injecting cortisone medication into the shoulder joint. You must talk to your doctor to see if it is suitable for you, because it does not prove beneficial in every case situation or outcome.


Hydrodilatation is a process where high concentrations of salt and a cortisone-based steroid medication are injected into the shoulder joint, in fluid form. The salt is used to expand the joint, and the steroid is used to decrease swelling and pain. Radiologists with advanced imaging capabilities, who specialize in body MRI, use this procedure as an alternative therapy for people diagnosed with severe shoulder joint arthritis!


When your condition has not improved significantly with other treatments, surgery may be recommended. If you have waited a year or more since starting the treatment, then it is time to think about a solution that will permanently resolve your arm issues – rather than continuing to limp along on treatments that are only temporary. There are two main approaches to shoulder surgery: arthroscopic surgery and open shoulder manipulation.

Shoulder Arthroscopy

When a frozen shoulder strikes, you need more than just a heating pad. Frozen shoulder is a condition that causes tissue to thicken around the shoulder, causing pain and limited range of motion. As mentioned above, one solution is arthroscopic surgery to remove the extra tissue from the joint. The procedure involves using small incisions in the arm to insert a camera into the shoulder.

Closed Shoulder Manipulation

While some procedures may sound scary, this procedure actually has many positives. It can be done in an office without surgery, and is oftentimes much more cost effective.

This procedure involves applying an anesthetic to put the patient to sleep. Then the doctor moves the shoulder in a certain way to stretch or tear the tight adhesions and scar tissue. This stretching is meant to improve your range of motion without surgery.

How Long Does Adhesive Capsulitis Take to Heal?

Very minor cases of Frozen Shoulder can resolve quickly with the aid of physical therapy and home remedies. And although most cases do not miraculously heal overnight, it may take up to a few months or even years for symptoms to completely subside.

Effective Frozen Shoulder Treatment

Frozen shoulder causes stiffness and pain in the shoulder area, but traction can be applied at home to offer some pain relief. Treatment involves heat, stretching, and exercises that ease tightness and relieve difficult symptoms. When you are experiencing a frozen shoulder, let your doctor know, since full recovery will require medical care from a professional. By beginning treatment as soon as possible, you can begin the journey back to recovery and better health.

Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.