Frozen Shoulder

Frozen shoulder is a common source of chronic (ongoing) pain, inflammation and restricted movement in the shoulder. Frozen shoulder commonly occurs in people age 50 and older as a result of overuse. It is more common in people with diabetes or thyroid conditions. 

Frozen shoulder is also known as adhesive capsulitis (cap-so-LIE-tuss). While this condition eventually resolves on its own, its course may last for months to years. Your care providers at U-M can offer options for dealing with the symptoms of frozen shoulder during that time.

Symptoms of Frozen Shoulder

  • Sharp pain with movement of the shoulder, especially when reaching
  • Difficulty sleeping due to shoulder pain
  • Less motion in the affected shoulder compared to the other shoulder

Diagnosing Frozen Shoulder

The diagnosis of frozen shoulder is usually made based on your history and physical examination. X-rays or an MRI may be ordered to rule out other conditions that have similar symptoms. Shoulder injections are sometimes performed both to confirm a suspected diagnosis and to treat the pain.

Treatment for Frozen Shoulder

Treating the symptoms of frozen shoulder typically involves a combination of physical therapy and anti-inflammatory treatments such as ice, medication, and or steroid injections. The recovery process is predictable but slow, and requires patience and continued therapy. Most cases of frozen shoulder do not require surgery.

Our Approach to Care

As part of the University of Michigan's integrated multidisciplinary approach to care, the Comprehensive Musculoskeletal Center, collaborates closely with areas such as:

  • Family Medicine
  • Physical Therapy
  • Rheumatology

Contact Us / Make an Appointment

  • MedSport, 877-877-9333, or 734-930-7400
  • Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PMR), 734-936-7175

Visit our Contact Us page to see a list of Musculoskeletal Call Centers. Our staff will be glad to talk with you about your options and how we can help.