Frozen Shoulder –

Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments

What to look out for when your shoulder gives you problem, and how you can get back on the road to recovery.



Frozen Shoulder (also know as adhesive capsulitis) is a condition where a person has stiffness, pain, and limited mobility in this shoulder. When tissue around the joint stiffen, or scar tissue has formed, shoulder movement can become difficult and painful. This can happen after such complications as an injury, stroke, diabetes, or other diseases.

This condition usually comes on gradually, with patients noticing an increase in limited shoulder mobility. This conditon then goes away slowly over the course of a year or more.



Frozen shoulder is a progressive condition that can develop when you stop using the joint normally because of pain, injury, or a chronic health condition. Any shoulder problems you encounter can lead to frozen shoulder if you do not work to keep full range of motion.

Frozen shoulder occurs in stages:

1. Freezing Stage (2-9 months):
This is the phase when the shoulder starts to lose range of motion and pain in the joint is increasing when used.

2. Frozen Stage (4-12 months): 
In the frozen stage pain may begin to deminish, however the shoulder becomes stiffer and mobility is extremely limited. Muscle deterioration is a risk as patients avoid any use of that arm.

3. Thawing Stage (5-12 months)
With treatment, the shoulder will start to heal and enter the thawing stage. Inflammation is reduced returning range of motion to the shoulder, and decreasing pain in the joint.



The bones, ligaments and tendons that make up the shoulder joint are encased in a capsule of connective tissue. When this capsule thickens and tightens around the shoulder joint, restricting movement, frozen shoulder starts to develop.

Frozen shoulder can occur:

  • After surgery or injury.
  • Most often in people 40 to 70 years old.
  • More often in women than in men.
  • Most often in people with chronic diseases.



The first line of action against frozen shoulder is usually doctor prescribed anti-inflammatory drugs together with the application of heat to the affected area.  Gentle stretching to increase range of motion is recommended.

Ice and medicines (including corticosteroid injections) may also be used to reduce pain and swelling. A frozen shoulder can take a year or more to get better.

If treatment is not helping, surgery is sometimes recommended to patients to help loosen some of the tight tissues around the shoulder. 

With the increasing worry of injury and recovery time, many patients choose surgery as a last choice, and many more are finding the relief for their shoulder through natural means.

Acupuncture is shown to help reduce shoulder inflammation, directly reducing the symptoms caused by frozen shoulder. This improves mobility in the shoulder and allows the joint to move more naturally.

There is no need for recovery time from acupuncture like there is surgery. Patients can start seeing results from their first session.

At Panda Clinic we offer many options for you to fight your frozen shoulder. If you are new to acupuncture, are uncertain if it’s the right treatment, or have a fear of needles, we offer our Advanced Acupressure Massage.

This combination service includes acupuncture, acupressure, and cupping therapy over a 60 minute session to give you an introduction to acupuncture.

Read more about our Advanced Acupressure Massage here.