The Causes Of A Frozen Shoulder

The Causes Of A Frozen Shoulder

The correct term for a frozen shoulder is adhesive capsulitis and although it is not a life threatening condition it is one that can be painful and to some extent an inconvenience. Dressing, reaching for items off a high shelf, or even getting in and out of a car can be difficult because the shoulder is restricted in terms of movement and this can make the patient feel frustrated and annoyed at the condition.

Typical Causes of Frozen Shoulder

The most typical cause of frozen shoulder is a mystery in the sense that it simply develops without any real reason! So one day the patient is fine, the next day they find that they have a frozen shoulder.

Or a frozen shoulder can develop after some kind of injury. The frozen shoulder may not be immediately apparent, but can set in after a period of time.

But there are some other causes that are specific and tend to cause the condition.


Gender is an issue with regard to a frozen shoulder because more than twice the number of women will experience this condition, than men.


Age is also an issue because it is a condition that is far more common in people who are aged 40 to 60, although people outside of this age range can still contract a frozen shoulder.


There is a greater risk of contracting a frozen shoulder if you have diabetes.

Thyroid problems:

Again, there is a far greater incidence of frozen shoulder in people who have thyroid problems or other endocrine problems.


After someone has had surgery on their shoulder and then has been relatively immobile for a long time, the risk of developing a frozen shoulder is greatly increased.

Other Medical Conditions:

Some medical conditions/illnesses, such as Parkinson’s disease or heart disease can also be a factor in developing this condition.

Treatment Options:

Treatment options vary from patient to patient and to some extent on any underlying medical conditions. The most common treatment option is physiotherapy combined with exercises at home to help the patient free up the shoulder.

In most cases the physiotherapy, perhaps combined with some mild painkillers will be sufficient to treat the condition successfully.

Where this is not successful other treatment options will be explored. These include acupuncture as well as injections into the shoulder.

Generally shoulder injections are comprised of steroids and these tend to be combined with a local anaesthetic, to ensure that pain is managed and that the inflammation in the shoulder joint is reduced.

There is also another shoulder injection that can assist which is known as viscosupplementation, a treatment that is more often used to treat arthritis and joints that are inflamed through arthritis.

If these treatments fail then another option is to look at the use of pulsed radiofrequency treatments to effectively deal with this condition in a way that can help stop the nerves sending pain signals to the brain.

However, your pain consultant is the best placed to advise on what particular type of treatment will be the best for your own special circumstances.