Patient Comments: Frozen Shoulder - Treatments

Question:

What treatments were helpful or effective for your frozen shoulder? Submit Your Comment

Comment from: Shakey, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: January 09

Let me start off by saying frozen shoulder is by far the worst pain I have ever experienced and wouldn't wish that on my worst enemy! I don't know how I ended up with frozen shoulder but physical therapy and cortisone injections did not help. The only thing that took the edge off was tramadol and that made me unable to work. Sudden movements brought me to the floor with such severe pain that I can only describe as someone trying to manually rip your arm off. After dealing with this for nearly 6 months, I finally had no choice but to have arthroscopic surgery. Physical therapy is grueling but necessary to help get range of motion back. Two months after surgery I can now move my arm enough to wash my own hair. It's a terribly long road to recovery but don't give up; the pain will get better slowly but surely!

Comment from: cjje, (Patient) Published: May 26

I had a frozen shoulder for over a year and a half. The pain would bring me to tears at times, it was so hard to bear. I went to several physical therapists and received various treatments. I went to an orthopedic doctor and got a cortisone shot. I went to a chiropractor and to a massage therapist. I found some relief from some of the treatments and made small gains in range of motion. I started doing yoga and got acupuncture treatments. What I believe finally returned nearly full range of motion was doing psychotherapy work with a therapist that considered the body-mind-spirit connection. I think what I needed most was to talk about and get some resolution from a trauma in my past that was preventing me from living my life and having a voice.

Comment from: Another catlady, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: April 20

I have torn rotator cuffs and had frozen shoulder in both arms and pain down to my fingers. I got back full range of motion in three months. The secret is power through the pain; get orthopedic deep tissue massage which probably is not covered by insurance. The massage therapist says all of the fascia, tendon, and muscles get stuck together and the therapy helps with that. Plus it is not really painful if done right. I still have torn tendons and arthritis but I got my life back. The physiotherapy people don't really push you like they should but two orthopedists told me that you have to force your shoulder to obey you. Good luck and don't give up.

Comment from: bigcatbutler, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: January 28

I had frozen shoulder after years of rotator teats and arthritis. I was told by doctors for years to have the tears repaired, but I just kept on with my on therapy; until the last injury to both shoulders. The surgeon said I needed replacement on both shoulders, but advised me to wait a few years. He has treated me with the injections and anti-inflammatory medicines. I worked out with light weights for about a year, more of a self-rehabilitation than body building. But after that year I woke up one morning. I couldn't move my left arm not even an inch I don't know why. Any movement was the most intense pain I could imagine. After two days of no movement I began moving an inch to the front and one to the rear. I was unable to move my hand out from my side at all for another week. But after about a month I could get about a foot to the front and to the rear. The out from the side took longer. After three months of these baby movements I started back with the two pound dumb bells. I've had two more injections for my shoulders in the last seven months. And I take a generic Voltaren once a day. So far I've improved every month and the frozen shoulder is a distant memory, a very painful memory.

Comment from: hopakera, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: March 10

I've been diagnosed with frozen shoulder. Cortisone shot did nothing. I was sent for physiotherapy (PT), which has helped a little so far. The PT guy is not convinced it is a frozen shoulder; he can move it much farther than I can on my own. Let me tell you, it hurts like the dickens, though! It feels like something is 'catching' in the shoulder. My orthopedic doctor is standing on frozen shoulder and after 3 weeks of PT, is already wanting to do manipulation under sedation! He's never manipulated without sedation to see if he can move it beyond what I can. I'm going for a second opinion. If it's frozen, that's fine, but I want to make sure there isn't something else going on first. And yes, a sudden movement used to be excruciating pain. After two PT sessions, that was much better, but now I have constant pain all the way down my arm; it is exhausting.

Comment from: Colin, 45-54 Male (Caregiver) Published: November 17

My pain relief for frozen shoulder is the magic effect of ultrasound. Mechanical vibration to produce a slight skin massage, deep-warm by penetration of the subcutaneous 5 cm, and bubble wash.

Comment from: 53 and frozen, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: May 12

I was diagnosed with frozen shoulder a week ago. Like most, pain came on out of nowhere and greatly increased over the last 4 months. I did physical therapy for 4 weeks with no help. Next week I'm scheduled for a cortisone shot and then physical therapy two days later and for the next 2 months. I see most posts here state the cortisone shots did not help. I'm terrified of shots.

Comment from: steve, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: February 26

It took me over 15 months to get rid of this awful condition of frozen shoulder. I felt like I'd be ruined by this, I'm at about 90% with ROM (range of motion). Occasional pain still persists but nothing like I experienced at the beginning, my nights were awful for about 4 months I was in agony, and MRI was good. Cortisone shot did nothing at all. I was given 4 mg tablets of methylprednisolone (a steroid) and it worked like a miracle but it was temporary, and not possible to use for very long. But it helped me endure the painful stretching that physical therapy consisted of and I continued with physical therapy for over a year. Now 15 months later I'm doing well but I don't think I'll ever be pain free. This condition is terrible and my heart goes out to you if you're experiencing this but don't give up hope. Definitely do PT and endure the stretching in the end you may be ok, good luck!

Comment from: Yupper, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: February 03

I am dealing with my second frozen shoulder. The first one, my left shoulder, was about 4 years ago. One cortisone shot and nearly a year of physical therapy gave me back full range of motion. At times the therapy was pretty rough BUT it worked, must do those home exercises twice a day, very important!! My second one is my right shoulder. Was smarter this time around and got into physical therapy much earlier and am already making progress. Again cannot emphasize the importance of home exercise.

Comment from: Gemini1957, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: November 21

Not really sure what caused my frozen shoulder. I just had a lot of pain which increased until I was diagnosed. I was under a tremendous amount of stress. I suffered with chronic pain for about 9 months and after diagnoses was referred to physical therapist. PT gave me exercises to do at home which I did not do on a regular basis due to pain. After ache went away I am now left with only 80 percent use of my left arm. I now wonder if I had done exercises faithfully would I have more range of motion. I will attempt to use Cybex machines to stretch atrophied muscles to regain some ROM in my shoulder but inevitable scarring has occurred.

Comment from: bingosquealer, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: March 13

Following my right shoulder fx of tuberosity, full thickness tear of rotator cuff , and frozen shoulder, I had physical therapy for 2 mos. then a cortisone injection with minimal relief. Arthroscopic surgery was done followed with 6 mos. of physical therapy. Then I tried accupuncture performed by an MD certified in accupuncture. What a relief. It worked much faster than physical therapy. Results I could feel with less pain and quicker movement of my muscles. I knew when I got on the table before my 45min. session ended I would be painfree. Accupunture is not for everyone but it worked for me.

Comment from: Dunnp1007, 19-24 Female (Patient) Published: February 01

In 2006 I was in a really bad car accident. My rotator cuff ripped in two different spots. I was sent to physical therapy where I went twice a week and also had to do ten exercises, three times a day. After a year of physical therapy and doing my at home exercises my rotator cuff did not heal. So in May 2007 my ortho doctor did surgery and sent me back to physical therapy. Then in October 2007 I was in another car accident where I did more damage to my rotor cuff and ripped almost every muscle and tendon in the same shoulder. Again,0 I was sent back to physical therapy and again it did not help. So in May of 2008 they did another surgery to try and fix it again. It did not help. In 2010 I was told that I had frozen shoulder. They did an injection similar to cortisone but stronger that somewhat helped. Then again in 2011 I was told I had frozen shoulder again. They did more physical therapy and more injections. Again, they helped for a little while then in the middle of 2012 my shoulder ended up hurting the worst ever and again I was told it was frozen shoulder. The doctor's don't know what to do next.

Comment from: Pain hater, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: January 09

The best treatment for a frozen shoulder is do not lift anything heavy at all, as this will make it worse. Keep away from washing baskets; lifting babies/toddlers, carrying heavy bags of shopping and doing heavy housework. I had a double-banger of frozen shoulder. I got it in the left shoulder, and in a matter of weeks it was on the right side at the same time. I couldn't lift my arms up over my head, so dressing and undressing became very difficult, as did sleeping. Reaching up to get something off the top shelf was also very painful.

Comment from: 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: November 21

I had surgery where my doctor did manipulation. That was about 5 years ago. I have total range of motion in that shoulder. Now my other shoulder is frozen. I have no insurance now so am unable to have the surgery again. Having read that the pain will eventually go away given enough time has given me hope. If I move suddenly or my shoulder is jarred in any way the pain nearly brings me to my knees. An episode of this pain is so exhausting.

Comment from: mary, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: August 14

I have been suffering with frozen shoulder for the last two and a half months. I like the articles that say the pain will start going away soon, but don't like the ones that say it will take 6 months. I haven't started physical therapy yet because my doctor says that with it or without it, it will take the same time to heal. But I like the idea of swimming and will try that. By the way the most difficult things to do with a frozen shoulder are washing your hair, taking off a t-shirt and sleeping!

Comment from: maggie, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: May 10

I had a cortisone injection last week. I had numbness in the little and index finger. The frozen shoulder is much better, but the fingers still feel numb and tingling.

Comment from: Kiriti, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: December 03

I have had a frozen shoulder for the last three months with no sign of easing up. Although the pain appears to have lessened slightly. Sudden jerks cause excruciating pain. Local doctor gave tablets and then an injection. One month later the specialist (in London) gave another injection. No real improvement. No one has mentioned PT or exercise. The specialist, in fact has said that exercise may result in scar tissues which will harden and cause more problems! Am going for a second opinion in India.

Comment from: 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: September 07

For my frozen shoulder, I had six months of physical therapy (twice a week) with large doses of ibuprofen and one Cortizone shot prior to surgery, followed by six more months of PT (twice a week). The doctor did surgery to remove the calcification causing tendonitis. My PT had me icing and doing my exercises 3 to 4 times a day at home. I am a year following surgery and still do the stretches and weights once a day.

Comment from: LicensedMassage, 19-24 Female (Caregiver) Published: January 12

I'm a licensed massage therapist. Why physical therapy is important, massage can help keep the scar tissue from collecting and causing adhesions. Just thought I'd throw that out there for the people who feel that scar tissue caused by frozen shoulder is holding them back from recovery.

Comment from: jenn, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: October 05

I have had a frozen shoulder for approximately 6 months. It developed 4-5weeks after a fall I had skiing. Physical therapy at first along wiht IMS therapy. I just had my second cortisone shot under fluroscopy and think it has released the joint a bit more. The first shot definitely helped with the painful period. I have also been seeing a Naturopath for Bowen therapy, which seems to help. Because of overuse my other shoulder has been in a lot of pain, so the therapies are great for both sides!

Comment from: dorthk, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: August 17

Swimming exercises has been the best thing I have done for my frozen shoulders. I can go in the pool with all kinds of pain and get out and be pain free.

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