Frozen shoulder treatment depends on the stage of the condition that the patient presents with. In the early stages if pain is mild, over the counter anti-inflammatory tablets can help with pain. Patients are advised to keep their shoulders moving and avoid not using the arm, or overdoing repetitive exercise.
Some patients find that physiotherapy often flares up the pain as the repetitive nature of the exercises can further irritate an inflamed joint. Simple stretching exercises can be done in the shower, using the warm water to relax your muscles, keeping the body still and crawling the arm up the wall in front of you and out to the side.
If pain and stiffness are progressing the first line of treatment should be an intra-articular steroid injection which can be given in clinic. If caught early up to 50% of patients would get better with a single injection. We do not recommend more than one injection for this condition. You can find out more about steroid injections here.
After your steroid injection it is important to keep the shoulder moving but avoid excessive exercise so that the inflammation can settle while keeping up or improving movement.
The British Elbow & Shoulder Society have produced a home exercise program for patients with frozen shoulder that you can do after your steroid injection and prior to formal physiotherapy:
For patients with frozen shoulder who do not respond to steroid injections, we recommend surgery in the form of an arthroscopic capsular release.
The following video discusses what frozen shoulder is, its symptoms, and options for treatment: