What Are the First Signs of a Frozen Shoulder?

What Are the First Signs of a Frozen Shoulder?

Anyone who has ever had a frozen shoulder before can tell you that it is a very uncomfortable and frustrating injury to manage. If you are looking for an orthopedist that will help you with your frozen shoulder problems, New York Sports Medicine Institute is your solution. Dr. Neil Roth is an award-winning orthopedist who can assist you with any shoulder injury you may contend with.

What is a Frozen Shoulder?

For those of you who are not well-informed on what this injury entails, the primary symptom is limited mobility and range of motion within the shoulder. This happens because the joints in the shoulder capsule become so thick and tight that it makes moving your shoulder very difficult. There is also a build-up of scar tissue and less liquid called synovial fluid to keep the joint lubricated. Frozen shoulders can last for different durations depending on the person and how much therapy they receive. 

What Are the First Signs of a Frozen Shoulder?

When it comes to a frozen shoulder, there are a couple of warning signs that might help to determine whether or not you have developed this condition. When the shoulder starts to freeze, it tends to become painful when you move it and your range of motion will likely become limited. For some people, the pain is worse at night and it prevents them from getting a full night of sleep which can be very frustrating. 


After you start to notice that you are losing motion in your shoulder, other symptoms may begin to follow through if you did not receive prompt treatment. Some of the other symptoms that occur for patients with frozen shoulder include, in three phases, the following:

  • Freezing Phase – Starting to feel pain and have limited motion in the shoulder.
  • Frozen Phase – The pain might start to subside at this stage, but your shoulder becomes stiffer and much harder to move. In most cases, this stage can last anywhere from 4 to 12 months.
  • Thawing Phase – The range of motion starts to improve. Typically this can take anywhere from six months to two years.

What are the Causes?

When it comes to the causes of frozen shoulders, it’s tough to identify a singular underlying cause for the ailment. One common issue found in cases of frozen shoulder is scar tissue buildup up in the shoulder joint which causes stiffness and tightness, restricting mobility.There has also been some correlations between diabetic patients being more susceptible.

Treatment for a Frozen Shoulder

When it comes to the treatments that are available for a frozen shoulder, there are several different exercises that you can do to help loosen up the affected area. A lot of the exercises should be done with a physical therapist or an orthopedist present so that they can make sure you are properly performing the exercises correctly and are not going to inadvertently create any further harm. Some of the treatments for frozen shoulder could include a few of the following:

  • A corticosteroid injection – Shot in your shoulder to help with the pain and range of motion.
  • Joint distension – An injection of sterile water in the shoulder capsule, this allows the area to be stretched more easily.
  • Physical therapy – Physical therapists are well-versed in exercises that are able to target and treat specified parts of the body.
  • Surgery – This is very rare but sometimes necessary. Frozen shoulder treatment is often performed with pencil-sized tools to help break up scar tissue. 
  • Shoulder manipulation – Manipulation, like surgery, is also rarely required for treatment. But the idea is that your orthopedist will move your shoulder back into place.

Contact Our Orthopedist in White Plains

If you are starting to notice that your shoulder is causing you pain and you cannot move it without feeling pain, it might be time to give Dr. Roth and New York Sports Medicine Institute a call. Located in White Plains & Manhattan, our orthopedist alongside with their team is dedicated to helping our clients feel like themselves again. Please visit our website to learn more and schedule an appointment.