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Frozen Shoulder – Symptoms, Causes and Diagnosis

Frozen shoulder- a term you hear more often with a certain mystery. Most of the people suffer from frozen shoulder for a longer period as it has a prolonged healing phase. The cause of this condition is unidentifiable with various risk factors. So, let’s have a look at what is frozen shoulder?

Frozen shoulder or adhesive capsulitis is defined as a condition where you feel pain or stiffness within the shoulder joint. This pain develops gradually over time, gets worse and then ultimately finishes up with time taking around 3-4 years. Our shoulder comprises of three bones i.e. humerus (upper arm), scapula (shoulder blade) and the clavicle (collarbone) which forms the ball-and-socket joint. The shoulder capsule is a tissue which surrounds the shoulder joint. During the frozen shoulder, the capsule of the shoulder joint becomes stiff and results in difficulty to move the joint.

Scar tissues form around the joint with less synovial fluid for lubrication that limits the joint movement. There are different stages of frozen shoulder which vary depending on their time duration i.e. freezing stage, frozen stage, and thawing stage. During the freezing stage, the pain can arise at any time of mobility. It may get worse at night and gradually hurts.

The duration of this pain is around 6-9 months. During the frozen stage, the intensity of pain is less with extreme stiffness of joint. The mobility of the joint during this stage becomes very difficult lasting from 4-12 months. During the thawing stage, the movement of the shoulder joint gets normal and this stage takes around 6 months to 2 years.

Read Also: Treating Various Types of Arthritis with Laser Pain Therapy

After knowing what frozen shoulder is, let’s have a look at the symptoms, causes, diagnosis, and mode of treatment for frozen shoulder:


The ultimate symptoms linked with frozen shoulder include:

  •         Stiffness of the joint
  •         Painful sensation whether achy or dull
  •         Difficulty in the mobility of the joint
  •         Sleeping difficulty
  •         Difficult to perform daily activities


Frozen shoulder is more commonly seen in women when compared to men. It mostly occurs in people aged 40-60 years. You are at an increased risk of suffering from the frozen shoulder if you had surgery or are recovering from a medical condition such as a stroke. Other individuals who are at increased risk of suffering from frozen shoulder include diabetic patients, patients suffering from thyroid, Parkinson’s disease or heart diseases and others.

Doctors are unable to identify the real cause of frozen shoulder but it occurs due to thickening of the shoulder capsule and tightening of the shoulder joint. It is also seen in people who are immobilized their joint for a longer duration due to either arm fracture or surgery.


Physical examination is performed by the doctors for diagnosing the frozen shoulder. It is performed to evaluate the pain threshold and mobility of the shoulder joint. There are two parts of physical examination i.e. active where you need to perform shoulder movements on your own and passive where the doctor performs the movement of your shoulder to evaluate the difference between the two movements. The doctor decides whether you need an anesthetic injection before the physical examination or not.

In most cases, the physical examination is enough to reach the complete diagnosis of the frozen shoulder but in severe cases, Ultrasound, X-rays, and MRI are also ordered to rule different diagnosis like torn rotator cuff or arthritis which can also result in shoulder pain and limit the movement of the shoulder joint.

Mode of Treatment:

There are many different modes of shoulder pain treatment which include:

  • PHYSICAL THERAPY: Physical therapy where you perform stretching and strengthening exercises for improvement in range of motion.
  • JOINT DISTENTION: Joint distension where sterile water is injected within the shoulder capsule for stretching effect.
  • SHOULDER MANIPULATION: Shoulder manipulation is now rarely performed by the doctors as it results in an increased chance of fracture. During this treatment, general anesthesia is applied by the doctor to make the patient unconscious and then shoulder joint is manipulated in different directions to loosen up the tight tissues.

LASER THERAPY: Laser therapy is a newer alternative that helps in treating the frozen shoulder. BioFlex laser therapy came up with this latest technology that increases the number of white blood cells with enhanced activity of these cells. This, in turn, helps to control the inflammatory process through increased anti-inflammatory mediators and reducing the number of pro-inflammatory mediators. The photobiomodulation with laser therapy enhances the proliferation and differentiation of cells, resulting in tissue regeneration and formation of collagen fibers.

In frozen shoulder cases, there is already a band of scar tissue that limits the movement so LLT transforms the collagen from type 3 to type 1 which leads to the change in the structure of the shoulder joint from weaker to healthier one. According to different studies, it is concluded that low-level laser therapy with exercise is highly effective for pain reduction of frozen shoulder. It was also seen that laser therapy improved the night sleep and daily activities with regular doses.

Frozen shoulder is a nuisance which affects our daily activities and limits our range of motion. There are various modes of treatment available in the market but BioFlex laser therapy is the best option for getting rid of the pain. It is a completely non-invasive procedure with very fewer side effects and major beneficial effects due to which it is highly recommended.

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