Frozen Shoulder Symptoms

Frozen shoulder symptoms are characterized by severely restricted movements of the shoulder and severe shoulder pain. In this condition, the shoulder joint capsule and the surrounding soft tissues undergo inflammation, stiffness and contraction, thereby affecting all the movements of the involved shoulder. At one stage, the movements become too painful that the individual tends to keep it immobile, giving the name “frozen shoulder” to this condition.

Pain is the predominant frozen shoulder symptom. It is often explained as dull, boring, aching in nature. Another frozen shoulder symptom is night pain, often disturbing the sleeping pattern of the individual. As it progresses, the pain keeps on persisting all the time, day and night, significantly decreasing the productivity of the individual.

The pain proportionately increases with increasing movements of the affected shoulder joint. So, with the onset of this disease, the affected individual prefers to keep his affected shoulder joint at rest, further worsening the condition.

Shoulder joint stiffness is a cardinal and distinguishing frozen shoulder symptom. The first movement to be affected due to this is the abduction of the arm (taking the arm away from the body at the sides) and internal rotation (twisting the shoulder inwards so that the palm of the hand faces back). With progression and worsening of the disease, virtually all the movements are affected.

Depending upon the frozen shoulder symptoms of pain and stiffness, frozen shoulder is divided in to 3 stages.

Stage 1 is called as the Freezing stage. Here pain of the involved shoulder joint is the main symptom associated with mild stiffness. This stage lasts from about 6 weeks to 9 months.

Stage 2 is known as the Frozen stage. As the name denotes, stiffness of the affected shoulder joint predominates this stage. It results in the restriction of movements in all the directions. Pain is also present in this stage. Frozen stage lasts from 4 months to 9 months duration.

Stage 3 is designated as Thawing stage. This lasts from 5 months to 26 months in which stiffness scores over the pain element. In this stage, the pain gradually comes down in intensity, but the stiffness is sufficiently present to obstruct the day-to-day activities of the unfortunate victim.

There are a few risk factors you should be aware of which may increase the chances of you getting frozen shoulder. If you are over the age of 40, if you have diabetes, having your shoulder immobilized due to accident or injury, or systemic diseases such as Parkinson’s disease or cardiovascular disease you may be at greater risk of having frozen shoulder. The best way to resolve frozen shoulder and get back full mobility of your shoulder is to be aware of the symptoms and to perform the correct rehabilitation exercises. This will help to shorten the time spent in each stage. It also means that you spend less time in pain and have a greater chance of getting a full range of motion back into your shoulders. There is something to note, frozen shoulder may not be limited to a single shoulder, it is known to move or affect the opposite shoulder as well, another reason for making sure that you see your doctor as soon as possible. This gives rise to the idea that it may be an immune response where the body is attacking itself for some reason. However, the exact cause of frozen shoulder is not known.