My frozen shoulder experience


If you have been diagnosed with a frozen shoulder (also known as adhesive capsulitis), you have my greatest sympathies.  It is disabling, agonizing, distressing both mentally and physically, immobilizing, exhausting, draining, overwhelming and frightening, and when you’re in the middle of it, you wonder if you’ll ever get your life back.  If you haven’t had a frozen shoulder, you will most likely think wow, what a load of tosh and over-reaction and that I’m a bit of a drama queen.  All I can say is, unless you’ve had it, or something similar, you can’t possibly understand it, but hopefully this article may help you if you have had it, have it now, or if you are living with someone who has it.


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Your life is 100 times harder, you struggle to dress yourself, can’t wash your face or hair or brush your teeth (with the arm involved), can’t get your hand to your face, can’t put a shirt over your head, you struggle to tuck yourself in if wearing jeans or skirts (I stopped trying), you can’t lift things, can’t move your arm more than a few inches in any direction, you can’t put your bra on, can’t even shrug your shoulders (the most basic thing of all!).  You can’t go through any kind of drive through (for food or the bank) – or if you do you have to park away from it, get out of the car and walk to the ATM – you can’t feed yourself properly, you can’t sleep, using a hairdryer in one hand and a brush in the other is out of the question – it’s hard to even wash your hair unless you do it one-handed. You start walking funny because you ache all over, your neck aches, your shoulders ache because your body is “out of whack” and distended – it starts affecting every aspect of your life, both waking and sleeping – it is just a horrible, horrible predicament.   It is still somewhat of an enigma, nobody REALLY knows what it is, what causes it or how to cure it, there are lots of opinions, and myriad medical doctors who will offer expensive surgery.  There are multiple options out there for other types of treatment, most of them (I believe) are detrimental to the healing process.  Sure, some of them may help, but some of them may hinder, but the most important thing is that you are not bullied into having surgery or doing anything that doesn’t feel right for you.

It has been such a lengthy, damaging, exhausting and distressing time in my life.  I have been led up and down the garden path, been told one thing and then another, spent a fortune on all kinds of doctors and chiropractors and physical therapists, and been so confused that I didn’t know where to turn. Trying to turn over in bed or even just shift positions would mean such a massive effort.  It would mean relocating the bad arm by manually lifting it up with the good arm and putting it down somewhere and then working my body in to fit where the arm was (hard to explain.)  Usually the pain would result in my tearing up with exhaustion and frustration and pain (mostly exhaustion) – it was just awful.  I couldn’t bear to be in the same bed as my husband in case he accidentally touched my arm or hand in the night, or even if he turned over in bed roughly (it would jolt my arm) – so I moved into the spare room while I was going through all this – it’s so hard to find a comfortable position and in the end, spent so much time awake that I would just put the TV on and try to get through the night as best as I could – so it’s just as well I wasn’t sharing with my husband.  He would never have had a good night’s sleep.

I have only just started getting my life back, my shoulder has just started suddenly and miraculously “thawing”, and that is why I am writing this story, in case you are going through the same confusion and just want to read a story about something you can relate to – knowing that there is hope, there is light at the end of the tunnel, you can get your life back.  You are not alone.

Many, many people have what you have, some worse, some not as badly.  Many have recovered, many are in the recovery process, many have undergone treatment and surgery, and many haven’t.  I have not had surgery, but I have tried all sorts of treatments, and as I finally entered the thawing stage this month, I feel I can write about it, knowing the end is in sight.  Before this week, I was unable to talk about it because I was still right in the middle of it – I was depressed, exhausted, frustrated, and worst of all, nobody else understood what I was going through.  I couldn’t tie my hair up into a pony tail and ended up asking strangers in shops or customers to help me (my poor husband tried a couple of times to help me with my hair, with a clip or a scrunchy,  and I looked like I had put my finger into a plug socket – it was terrible).  I could brush my hair with my right hand, but that was it – could not put a clip in or even think of tying it up.  Just impossible.  My husband would watch me concerned as I tried to eat, but would have to lower my head down to my fork, almost table level, just to get a forkful of food, but he couldn’t understand, and possibly thought I was just over-reacting.  It’s so hard to explain to someone who hasn’t experienced it.

I know a lot of people don’t believe that chiropractic treatments don’t really work,  they’re skeptical about chiropractors, they don’t think they deserve to have the “Dr.” in front of their names , and this is what I have to say.  OK, so they’re not medical doctors, but they have to study really hard and work for many years before they can be certified, it’s not just a weekend course – they have to study the human body and physiology and the skeletal and muscular systems  in great detail and if you find a good one, you will NEVER regret it.   A good one will change your life.   True, there are a lot of “not so good” chiropractors out there and if you’ve been to a lousy chiropractor, you’ll never want to go to another one.  There are also a LOT of “not so good” medical doctors  out there, but that doesn’t mean you’ll never go to another doctor, right?  All I can say is that a good chiropractor is a LIFE SAVER, and I cannot recommend them highly enough.


It seems a lifetime ago but only 11 months ago I was as fit as a fiddle – swimming, snorkeling in the warm Atlantic Ocean off Fort Lauderdale, diving in the wonderfully warm cobalt blue ocean from our small boat, chasing after dolphins (both real dolphins as well as mahi-mahi swimming round the boat), pulling myself into the boat using the small ladder (which would yank at both shoulders if the sea was rough),  hand-standing and cart-wheeling with my young niece, lifting heavy furniture (a solid 200 pound armoire) for the upcoming in-laws’ visit, grabbing onto the ladder when docking the boat, putting crockery away on high shelves from the dishwasher, going horseback riding, cycling, going to archery classes with my husband (his idea – in preparation for when zombies take over the world, thanks to shows like Zombieland, The Walking Dead, Dawn of the Dead, and my personal favorite and the only zombie movie I’ve watched, Shawn of the Dead, etc.), driving the stick shift pickup, and just going about my daily business without an inkling of what was coming my way.    Any or all or none of these things could have set it off.

This is how it seems to happen for a lot of people.  There is no terrible trauma or single event when you wrench your shoulder traumatically and squeal “Ouch, my shoulder!”  I have absolutely no idea when I injured my shoulder, or how I injured it – could have been any of the above, or it could even be something as asinine and mundane as sleeping on my left side at night instead of on my back.  I do remember waking up several mornings over a period of about a month, feeling stiff and sore in that shoulder after sleeping on my side, although the pain always went away – but after a few weeks of having morning shoulder discomfort, I decided to revert to the old way of sleeping on my back.

My frozen shoulder could have resulted from any one of these things, the swimming, the diving, the hand-standing, the lifting – or it could have been a combination of things, or it could have been none of these things.  I just don’t know because there was no defining moment that I knew I had injured myself.  To be honest, I was not in particularly good physical shape at the time – I suffer from chronic laziness (I don’t actually suffer from it, I quite enjoy it, if I’m honest) and frankly, well, I just don’t like to exercise.  Never have.  Yes I tried to do some cycling from time to time, but the most I could manage was 10 miles once every few weeks, walking my bike over the SE 17th Street Bridge in Fort Lauderdale and then freewheeling home, while my husband whizzed by at 30 miles an hour on his second 10-mile lap.  I had become vegan a couple of years ago after my doctor told me my cholesterol was very high, and I had lost weight, dropped my blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and I was feeling great – even if I was not particularly physically active.  I did some rebounding on my small rebounder (mini-trampoline) from time to time – probably the only physical exercise I somewhat enjoyed, but I must admit I was very lazy and pretty inactive.   On the other hand, I wasn’t a couch potato.  I help my husband run his business, I have my own home-based business too, so I’m never sitting around doing nothing – always on the go either in his office, driving, seeing his distributors and customers, working on the computer etc.  We work long hours too, leaving home at 7 am, sometimes not home till 6 or so, not leading a sedentary day but not a physically exertive or strenuous day either.

All I know is that I started having slight pain and discomfort in my left shoulder around June 2013.  I even mentioned to my husband when we were in the Keys that my shoulder was painful and we both thought the best thing was just to rest it for a while.

So that’s what I did.  I carried on doing what I do, using my left arm as always from the elbow down but making sure that the movement from my shoulder was limited, and if any movement I did caused any discomfort, I stopped it immediately.  I didn’t put the arm in a sling, but I definitely used it a lot less, thinking that I was doing the right thing.  The pain didn’t get any worse but then I didn’t really use my arm much, so I was totally unaware that it was just “setting” in place.  Resting it like that was the worst thing I could have done, but I had no idea at the time.  A few weeks later, when I tried to lift my arm to put something away on a high shelf, I was completely horrified to find that I just could not lift my arm more than a couple of feet.  It felt like someone was pushing down on it, that the muscles that normally lifted it were completely useless.  I was still not too alarmed – just sort of brushed it off and made sure I didn’t even try to lift it like that any more – and carried on.

One day I was going to get some humus from one of our favorite take-away restaurants, and I stumbled a little and bumped into a pillar with my left shoulder.  If it had been my right shoulder, I wouldn’t even have noticed it – certainly if anyone else had bumped his/her shoulder, it would have been so insignificant that they wouldn’t even have registered what they’d done – but for me, the bump was absolute agony.  I remember the searing pain in my shoulder, so much so that I started seeing stars and feeling faint, and I doubled up in pain and simply dropped to the ground groaning in absolute and complete physical anguish.  As is often the way in south Florida, nobody else paid any attention to me and the diners at the outside tables simply carried on as if I wasn’t even there.  I literally managed to sit upright with my feet in the gutter, holding my upper arm and trying to catch my breath, tears pouring down my cheeks.  The pain did not last that long – it faded pretty quickly, but it was the first real wake up call that something was wrong.  No gentle bump on the arm should have that affect, and it was so bad that when I took my niece and nephew to the Museum of Science & Discovery in Fort Lauderdale, when they wanted to go on the “airboat ride” (a few benches that vibrated and jolted about a bit in front of a movie screen), I was too afraid to join them so just watched from the side.  When they wanted to go on the rocket trip to Mars (a suspended cage that also vibrated and jolted and bumped about in front of a screen), again, I was too afraid of the pain and ended up paying one of their employees $20 to accompany them (children on this ride had to be accompanied by an adult) – I was terrified that my arm would be jolted or bumped, and the anticipated ensuing agony prevented me from going on these basic rides with them.


My next question was, what do I do and were do I go?  What kind of doctor do I see?  My Primary Care physician was not a particularly good one.    My few visits to him had not ended well, and I know he’d have told me to take two aspirin and well, just don’t call him (I have since changed doctors and now have a really excellent PCP – happy to provide his name if anyone is interested).  I asked my ObGyn during my annual checkup and he didn’t really have any idea what could be wrong, but suggested an orthopedic surgeon.  Then, as luck would have it, one of my neighbor had just had some shoulder issues herself (rotator cuff problem) and she’d been to see an Orthopedic Surgeon close by, and he’d performed arthroscopic surgery on her and she said he was good – so I figured he’d be a good place to start.


I’m not going to mention this doctor’s name because (as you’ll see), I don’t think he was much good at all, even though he is one of the top rated Orthopedic specialists in south Florida, with accolades and glowingly positive reviews posted everywhere.  He sounded fantastic so even though I couldn’t get an appointment for three weeks, I decided to hold out and see him – I wanted the BEST I could get.  I was happy he was covered by my insurance, with only a $50 co-payment required on my part.  I couldn’t wait for my appointment to him, as I figured he’d have all the answers and I’d come out of his office right as rain.

The visit was over quickly.  After being shown into his office, an assistant came in and asked me a few questions, and told me I’d have to go and have an X-Ray (fortunately they had an X-Ray machine in their surgery).  The Radiographer took an x-ray of my left shoulder and I returned to the medical exam room, where I met the O.S.  He asked me to lift my arm to the side (about 2 feet) and in front of me (about 3 feet).  He asked to check internal/external rotation, and external rotation was zero, and he said “Classical Frozen Shoulder.”  He said on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the worst, I was a “7”.  He didn’t really do anything else or ask me much, and was 100% confident in his diagnosis.  I asked him how he could be so sure that it was FS after literally examining me for no more than two minutes, and while he didn’t actually snap at me, he was very abrupt when he said “It’s obvious.  You can’t lift your arm.  It’s frozen shoulder.”  I guess he’s so used to seeing this sort of thing that he doesn’t need more than 120 seconds to diagnose someone.  He said it’s very common in Caucasian women between 40 and 60 (I think those were the years he mentioned).

He prescribed PREDNISONE (an anti-inflammatory steroid, the only side effect I might feel, he told me, would be that I MIGHT feel a little “wired”), and said I should have 6 weeks of physiotherapy.  If that didn’t help, he’d operate on me, basically put me under anesthetic, manually manipulate my arm into every angle possible (with a 2% chance that this would break my arm), and then go in arthroscopically to clear out any debris.  The procedure is called MUA (Manipulation Under Anesthesia).   After that I’d have to undergo more physiotherapy and hopefully within another 6 months, I’d have most of my movement back.

I asked him if there were any other options, and he told me no.  He said his staff could recommend a physiotherapist, suggested I swim as often as I can (I don’t have a pool but took note of the recommendation) and he gave me two lots of Prednisone scripts – one prescription of Prednisone would come in a bubble pack and one would be loose tablets in a bottle, but he wasn’t particularly clear on how to take them.  When I filled the prescription, I did ask the pharmacist how I should take them, if I should be taking both the bubble-pack Prednisone AND the loose tablets in the bottle at the same time – and she told me yes, as long as I take them with food.  I was absolutely clear with her that I didn’t know how to take them, and double checked – take both of these together?  Yes!  So for the first five days I was taking both lots TOGETHER, and it was only when I started feeling really weird that I called the doctor’s office, and asked his medical assistant – she told me absolutely NOT.  You take the bubble-pack first, finish that prescription first and once that’s finished, THEN you start on the loose tablets in the bottle.  By then it was almost too late as I had (from what I remember) almost finished the bubble pack.  How irresponsible of that pharmacist!  MAKE SURE YOU ASK YOUR DOCTOR FOR DETAILS ON TAKING YOUR PILLS BECAUSE YOU CANNOT RELY ON A PHARMACIST!!!!

I cannot say I felt any better taking the Prednisone, i.e. the pain in my shoulder and upper arm didn’t lessen at all, there was no more flexibility, and I just started feeling awful.  I couldn’t sleep at all – I felt like a florescent light bulb was going off in my mind, I was exhausted, emotional (probably from the lack of sleep), and I was easily reduced to tears or fits of rage (which surprised my husband because I am usually very mild mannered and he and I NEVER fight or disagree about things – we get along so well!) – and one of the worst things was, after being vegan for two years, not even THINKING about eating red meat, after three weeks on Prednisone, while making hamburger for my husband (obviously no vegan), I suddenly started absolutely CRAVING this raw ground beef that I was mixing, and I really had to fight these cravings not to grab handfuls of it and shove that into my mouth.  That’s when I thought hmmm, this isn’t right.  My period came two weeks early (I’ve been as regular as clockwork since I was 13) – and I just couldn’t function properly any more.  I was absolutely ravenous all the time – not just hungry, but absolutely starving – the minute I finished eating a big meal, I was starving again and all I could do was eat, eat, and eat.  I was getting up at 2 am to eat – something I have never ever done before – all side effects of the Prednisone (which I hadn’t realized).  As a result, I think I gained about 15 pounds – I was absolutely unstoppable with eating, and had such strong cravings for meat (which I fought, but they were there, nevertheless).  The mood swings were awful – a side effect of the medication, but also possibly a side effect of the insomnia and resulting lack of sleep.  When my period came early and I started craving the raw meat, I just flushed the tablets immediately – they hadn’t helped me at ALL as far as getting movement back (I’d been going to physiotherapy for three weeks by then).  I called the doctor’s office and told them what I’d done – they recommended another anti-inflammatory, but I declined.  I didn’t want to go through anything like that again and seriously urge you to read up about the side effects from any steroid medication you are prescribed BEFORE you start taking it.  I hear Prednisone works very well for a lot of people, lots of people don’t experience any side effects, so I’m not saying don’t take it – it may be just the thing to help you – I’m just saying just be aware of the side effects before you take it and if you start feeling weird, CALL YOUR DOCTOR IMMEDIATELY.

So, now to the physical therapy.  I booked my first physical therapy appointment for a few days after my O’S.’s visit, so as to give the anti-inflammatory some time to work (which we all know didn’t), and went to a Physical Therapy chain (name deliberately omitted) that apparently accepted my health insurance, at a $50/session copayment.  (Only when I finished physio and called my health insurance company to see how many sessions they’d submitted did I find out that they hadn’t submitted a single one – my $50/session copay had been the entire payment and they’d never even contacted my health insurance company.)

What you don’t realize is that with a frozen shoulder, the rest of your body compensates dramatically.  I started walking funny, my neck and head ached, when I stood straight up I could tell the difference in my shoulders, the way one drooped and the way one was high – my upper vertebrate in my neck hurt, my shoulders were always sore, the muscles in my neck and shoulders were painful, and the left scapula area was excruciating to the touch – if I put pressure on it or tried to massage it, I found some of the pressure points were agonizing. I was sitting strangely, when I was driving I adopted a strange posture – I was completely out of whack, simply because of this frozen shoulder.


The Physical Therapists (who shall remain nameless) told me they’d had lots of experience with frozen shoulders, and the way they treated me was to give me some basic exercises (the shoulder pulley, holding a broom handle and pushing it from side to side, hand walking up the wall, pushing my arm to the left while strapping the upper arm to the body etc.), and then they’d spend a few minutes stretching me out.  They believed in “no pain no gain” and I was often in tears of agony while they insisted that this was the best way.  The stretching was absolute agony – but they wanted to go past that because otherwise apparently I was not achieving anything.  It was absolutely excruciating.   They gave me the same exercises to do at home – also sit next to a table at right angles to the table, place my arm on the table and while keeping it straight, push it as far up as I could go.  I couldn’t even get my arm ON the table, let alone push it anywhere.  I was going three times a week, paying $50 a time, and while I enjoyed the initial heating-pad they put on me at the beginning of each session and the ice pack they put on at the end of each session, I hated every minute of physical therapy because of the pain involved.  I also did not like that I was paying $50 each session, and the PT would just more or less tell me “OK, do this exercise now” and then set the timer, go off and either work with other patients or sit and do emails or chat to colleagues about the pizza last night or football – not paying ANY attention to me until the timer went off and they had to point me to another exercise.  I felt for $50, they should be paying more attention to ME because I was paying for individual care.  I kept on going two or three times a week, but not making much progress.  I would make a little progress, maybe half an inch in movement, but the pain that resulted was awful.

After a few months of this, I finally thought ENOUGH.  I had spent over $1000 on this PT and told them I couldn’t afford to go any more – suddenly they said oh, well, why don’t you pay for the monthly rate ($50 per month), unlimited sessions – I would do the exercises by myself (which I had been doing anyway) and they would still stretch me out at the end.  I couldn’t believe this – why hadn’t they suggested this before?  When I paid the $50 and went for one session, it was EXACTLY THE SAME as before, they spent no more and no less time on me – so I could have saved $1000.  SHAME ON THEM.  They never submitted it to my insurance company, but I paid on credit card so I know that it didn’t go off the books – I just think it’s a way for them to be profitable while preying on people like me who desperately need help, but don’t know they can get it for just $50 a month instead of $50 per session (depending on what insurance you have).  I have Coventry, if anyone’s interested.

Anyway, I digress.

So there I was, doing PT for weeks and weeks but somehow knowing that there were better ways to get better.  Apart from the lack of motion and pain, my arm would feel like it was about to pop out of its socket.  I know it wasn’t really going to pop out of the socket, but if I relaxed the muscles at all, I would get the awful sharp sensation that it was coming loose (all part of the FS symptoms) – the most horrible, horrible feeling.  At night, if I was lying on my right side, with my left arm down my side, trying to relax – the minute I DID relax, I would feel the crackle of the arm coming out of the shoulder socket – so I would shout in pain and tense up the muscles again, making sure they were as tense as could be so as to prevent the arm from popping out the socket.  It’s hard to describe, but if you have what I had, then you’ll know.  There were pops and crackles too, pops like when you pop the air out of a joint (like cracking a knuckle) and after the pop, there was a feeling of relief – there wasn’t any pain with this pop, just a surprise feeling, so the pops were welcomed.  The crackling and joint-coming-loose sensations were not welcome – they were awful.  Just relaxing the arm completely would result in this feeling, so at night, when relaxing, I’d just get comfortable and relax and then bam, arm out of socket feeling – so I’d tense up and try to sleep tensed up.

Sleeping was incredibly difficult – I mostly slept on my back, with my right arm I’d stretch it out sideways until it felt comfortable, and then reposition my right arm again so I was flat on my back again, but it was mostly extremely uncomfortable.  If I tried to rest my hand on my tummy, the tightness of the muscles wouldn’t allow it and even though I tried really hard, my hand would be sticking out way over my tummy, hanging in mid air.  Nothing I could do could make it go down and actually rest ON my tummy.  It’s a strange thing to behold – you can relax as much as you can, and yet your arm from the elbow down is standing up almost straight, hanging there in mid air!  I tried resting it on pillows and all sorts of things – but nothing worked – and I was getting maybe two hours of sleep a night, if I was lucky.  I was constantly exhausted, and as we all know, prolonged fatigue can really wear down your spirit and your soul, making you depressed and just generally run down.  I have been through all of this and no doubt you have too, if you’ve had FS.


At the same time, towards the first few weeks after starting PT,  I looked for alternative options.  I thought a chiropractor might be a good option, and I looked online for hours and hours (as no doubt you’ve done too, if you’ve got a frozen shoulder) and something jumped out at me:  TRIGENICS.

Apparently a Dr. Allan Oolo Austin has a wonderful way of curing the frozen shoulder without general anesthesia.  Unfortunately his clinic is in Canada, and it seems like what he does is very much like MUA (Manipulation Under Anesthesia) except he injects possibly a local anesthetic or steroid right into your shoulder and then does the manipulation – the results looked amazing (videos on line), and I sent their offices an email immediately.  I didn’t hear back for a while and sent another email, asking all sorts of questions, and I think I got a response three or four weeks later – they apologized for not responding, but explained that they really don’t like using email so please call their offices.  Why on earth would they even have an email address on their website if they don’t want, like or respond to emails? Oh, and when they DID respond, they had sent me an email that responded to a DIFFERENT patient (that patient’s original email plus their email address was included, and it was addressed to that person).  Obviously a mistake but in my mind, quite a serious one.  I would hate for my details and private email to be sent to someone else!  So I wasn’t really impressed, not to mention disappointed that they told me they don’t like emails and to please use the phone.

By this time, I had managed to look on the Trigenics website and find a chiropractor in the Fort Lauderdale/Pompano area who practiced Trigenics himself – not to the point of doing the injection plus manipulation, but just someone who follows the practice (as well as regular chiropractic treatments), and someone I thought might be able to help me.  I am putting his name and details here because he was absolutely AMAZING!!!!!

Dr. Kenneth Arnold
2118 E Atlantic Blvd
Pompano Beach,
FL 33062

His web details are extremely limited, and I emailed him but didn’t get a response (I have since found out that he never checks his emails, so make sure you call him, and don’t rely on email).  I then called his number and left a message, and he rang me the following day.  I made an appointment with him (his cell phone number is part of the voice recording if you call his office and leave a message, so don’t hesitate to call that number). I have had experience with chiropractors in the past and thought I knew what to expect, but nothing prepared me for the experience of Dr. Arnold.  He works in an office on Atlantic Boulevard and US1, and when I went to see him, I told him I was there for frozen shoulder and he told me yes, he’d treated it before, but it’s a very difficult thing to fix and treat, and all he could do was work with me and try whatever methods he could.  He said what will fix one frozen shoulder won’t fix another – it’s not like mending a broken bone – the causes of frozen shoulder are so varied, so he was completely honest with me.  He didn’t raise my expectations or promise me anything – he just said he’d try his best to help me.  He doesn’t take my insurance, but said he’d charge me $50 per session, which is what I’d been paying for physio therapy.  I was still doing PT twice a week, but thought that adding one session a week with Dr. Arnold could only help me.
All I can tell you is that this man spent two hours on me that first day, he didn’t take his eyes or hands off me, he worked harder on me than anyone has EVER worked on me – massaging, manipulating, stretching, pulling, pushing, rubbing, gently maneuvering, etc., I just could not believe the amount of effort he put into the session.  He aligned my back and neck too, general chiropractic stuff, but for the most part, everything else was customized just for me.  Yes there was pain but he didn’t believe in pushing into pain – when there was pain, he stopped.  He also has bottles and bottles of vitamins and minerals and asked at the end of the session if he could test me, see if I needed anything.  Inwardly I sighed and thought here we go, now he’s going to recommend dozens of expensive pills for me – and he did some “tests” on me to determine what I was lacking, and the only thing he suggested was omega 3 fish oil.  He said that my body is telling him that this is all I am lacking.  When I explained I had trouble swallowing large pills (I know, I’m a big baby but I really struggle taking pills), he found some tuna omega 3 fish oil, small pills, and that’s all he recommended. I asked him if I should set up a regimen with him, i.e. plan now to come three times a week etc., expecting him to try to lock me in to regular sessions.  Most chiropractors do that – lock you to two or three treatments a week for a few months – mainly to generate some income for them.  Do you know what he said?  No need for that, if you want to come see me, make an appointment and I’ll be here.  Just call.  No need to lock yourself into anything – if you want me, I’m here.

To me, that is unheard of.  He wasn’t trying to make money off me – his ONLY concern was for helping me get better, and after that first two hour session with him, the difference in how I felt was incredible.  I felt like HE REALLY CARED!  I had a LOT more motion in my arm and shoulder (when I say a lot, only a couple of inches really, but that was a HECK of a lot more than I got from the physical therapists) – and I felt like I was under the care of someone who genuinely cared for his patients and his only concern was to treat them and to help them.  I cannot speak highly enough about him.Every session I had with him was amazing – sometimes he’d only charge me $40, and sometimes I’d refuse to pay that after he’d spent two hours on me, and I’d insist on paying him $50, and even then, I felt it was too little.  If I had more money I’d have paid him double.  There was so much more going on with him, treatments and things he did, than I can go into now, but suffice it to say that without him, I don’t know how I would have gotten through all this.

I got absolutely fed up with PT.  Not only were they taking my $50 a session and barely spending time with me, but I felt they were nonchalant and too focused on their pizza and football and really not paying attention to ME.  On one occasion, when I was doing the shoulder raises using the shoulder pulley, I noticed that when I raised my arm, I tended to lean over completely with my body, to compensate, so that in fact I wasn’t lifting my arm like I thought I was, and I wasn’t making any progress, I was just twisting my torso around it.  I said to the one PT “Gosh I wish you had a mirror so I could see what I’m doing, I feel like I’m completely bent over and twisted, not straight at all, and not really doing the exercise properly.”  His response was “You really shouldn’t be that vain that you worry what you look like doing the exercise.”  I explained it was NOT vanity, but I wanted to make sure I was sitting straight up when lifting my arm, and not twisting or contorting myself to compensate for the pain and restriction of movement – I wanted to see gosh, am I really lifting my arm that high, or am I simply bending my body over?  He then said that I should be “aware of my body in space” so that I shouldn’t NEED a mirror to see if I was sitting straight up, or bending over.  I couldn’t believe what a ridiculous answer he gave me, when you have a FS you don’t necessarily know that you’re twisting yourself over – and that’s when I decided I was done with them, after spending over $1000 on their sessions.

So back to Dr. Arnold.  He was great at keeping the blood flow going, massaging the muscles and doing some stretching – he was instrumental in keeping me sane when I felt like I was going crazy with frustration, he offered so many techniques and methods of helping me, not only physically but emotionally and mentally too – when I was upset about anything, he had a technique he used that he could get to the bottom of things and often found out that what I thought I was upset about was not what I was upset about – and he was absolutely fantastic in every way.  I particularly liked his honesty in not promising he could help me but just saying he would help as best as he could – his way of not trying to gouge me for money and letting me know that he was there when I needed him – of helping me figure out what vitamins and minerals my body was lacking and ensuring that I took my Omega 3 every day and when I needed it, vitamin B12 (the only two things he found my body was missing) – he helped me so much – I was able to cry there and really let my emotions out and in a world where nobody else understood what I was going through, he was my sanctuary.  He was absolutely fantastic – always willing to fit me in whenever possible (his office hours are somewhat limited, but he is very happy to make appointments with people out of office hours, which suited me, as I knew I was the only one in his office, and the sole focus of his attentions.)  He’s a somewhat quiet man, very focused on what he does, and an extremely caring and compassionate practitioner.  As I said, after every session with him, I had a LOT more movement in my arm and shoulder, and even if it was just an inch or two – it was HUGE progress.  I wish I’d gone to see him twice a week and the PT only once a week – because I think the PT DID help a little in that it gave me an idea of the exercises, but their method of no pain no gain is totally wrong.  As Dr. Arnold said, don’t go INTO pain – if you feel you are moving into pain, stop where you are and back off…. Don’t push yourself to the point where you are in absolute agony.


While researching frozen shoulders more recently, I discovered another “frozen shoulder” treatment called the Niel Ascher Technique (not to be confused with Neil Asher, the science fiction writer)

It caught my eye because of the specific focus and apparent success rate for frozen shoulder.   With not many certified practitioners in the area, I managed to find one in West Palm Beach, Dr. Jay Scampole, and thought I would give it a try – after all, what did I have to lose?  I was still faithfully going to Dr. Arnold and just wanted to see what other options there were.

Dr. Jay Scampole DC, LMT, FIAMA


He is a chiropractor who also practices the Neil Ascher technique.  I went to see him a couple of times – he’s a very gentle and nice man, also very caring and genuinely concerned about his patients – he himself had a frozen shoulder many years ago (so he REALLY knows what you’re going through), and fixed it by doing his own manual manipulation without any kind of steroid or anesthetic – he said it worked but it was extremely painful.  This is what made him go out and search for a better way to help frozen shoulder patients.  He tried really hard with me but was unsuccessful in making any progress (I felt a little better after each session but it didn’t last), and the second time I saw him, the days following the treatment were the most painful in a long time – I was in extreme pain all over, my body, my neck, my shoulder, my head – I could hardly move.  Something he’d done had triggered some kind of physiological response, but not a positive one, and while I really liked him and thought he tried very hard, I decided not to go and see him again.

I mention him because he has been successful with many, many patients and is definitely worth considering – this is one of his main focuses, he had apparently fixed many frozen shoulders, he lectures about it, studies it – unfortunately it just didn’t work for me.  Please note though, just because the Niel Asher technique didn’t work for me doesn’t mean it won’t work for you and Dr. Jay is such a nice guy that you really don’t have much to lose by going to see him and possibly a lot to gain.  He is worth the visit.  Bear in mind though, he asks that you take an icepack with you for your journey home after treatment but doesn’t have a freezer!   I had to take my own cooler bag with the icepack, and at the end of the session, it was only just barely cold so the ice pack was not much good.  He needs to get a freezer!  Dr. Jay – if you read this – GET A FREEZER!!! PLEASE!

Dr. Jay emailed me a fantastic .pdf document about frozen shoulder exercises to do at home – don’t forget to ask him for this if you go and see him.  It’s EXCELLENT.


I went back to my Orthopedic Surgeon for my follow-up visit after 6 weeks on Physical Therapy – and told him off about the Prednisone – I told him he absolutely SHOULD have warned me that there could be more serious side effects other than I might feel a little wired.  He said well a lot of people don’t suffer from side effects – and I said yes, but it’s your responsibility to TELL your patients that there are other serious side effects, including complete insomnia, weight gain, mood swings, insatiable hunger, menstrual cycle changes, and strange food cravings.  It is his duty to tell us so we are aware of what might happen – he didn’t have to list them all, just tell me that there were side effects – all he told me was that I might feel a little wired – and I find that incredibly irresponsible of him, and I told him so.  He was apologetic, but I don’t think for a second he really cared – I was just a number to him, part of his business, and not a real person that he needed to pay much attention to.  When I saw him again, I had had very little progress with the arm under physical therapy and he again offered to operate, but with my health insurance plan, I would have ended up paying $10,000 out of pocket, which was not an option.   I explained my situation and asked if there was any stand-alone clinic not connected to a hospital (then I would only have to pay the $250 copay) – but he didn’t know of one and frankly didn’t seem to care.  I don’t blame him – he probably gets a huge chunk of change for every surgery, and trying to work out how to help a patient without making a ton of money obviously isn’t on his list of priorities.

That was the last time I went to see him, and I would not recommend him to anyone.  I’m sure he’s a great O.S. but I don’t think he took more than 5 minutes each time he saw me, got me in and out as quickly as possible, and really showed no compassion or concern.  I’m just a cog in the wheel that is his business.


1.  OTZ

When I was in the UK over Christmas visiting my family, I went to see my sister’s physical therapist (my sister gets cluster headaches very badly), and I thought it might be worth seeing someone, just in case she had some brilliant breakthroughs or treatment methods!  Alas she didn’t, but the manager there mentioned something called OTZ technique:

It really struck a cord with me because just from reading their website, it seemed that they had much more knowledge about FS and in my opinion, would have been worth following up with for sure.  Unfortunately, there are VERY few certified doctors/chiropractors who know this OTZ technique, and when I returned to the US in February, I had a long and informative conversation with one of them (Dr. Louis D’Amico), he informed me that really the best thing to do is see Dr. Murphy, who lives and works in Dallas.  He spoke very highly about Dr. Murphy (who developed the OTZ technique) – and if I had had the resources (time and money), maybe it would have been an option, but there were too many unknowns:   not knowing how much it would cost, or what kind of treatment would be needed, or if I would be treated and then could return home to Florida the following day, or if I would be in a lot of pain and need to rest the following day, or if I would need a succession of treatments a day apart, two days apart, a week apart etc. There were so many questions, and at the time, the south and Midwest were being hammered by terrible blizzards, making travel just about impossible – so it seemed that this was not meant to be.  I mention them again because it is an option, and MIGHT be able to help someone…. Costs are unknown – the treatment is unknown – except that they do some adjustments with the skull and the top of the spinal column/top vertebrae (or something like that) – which sounds scary but if you read up about it, the results seem amazing.  If there was a doctor in Florida, I would have found a way to see him/her, but going to Dallas just was out of the question.


Also while in the UK I read about something called hydrodilatation ( whereby saline is injected into the shoulder, a good amount so that the whole area swells and any adhesions break apart.  I wondered why I was never given that option in the US (probably not lucrative enough, no anesthetic required, no surgery – apparently just a good radiographer is required) – but in the UK, it’s definitely a commonly offered solution.  It’s not offered on the National Health System though (as far as I could tell), but the reviews are excellent.  Somewhat curious, I spoke to a doctor who did it  (well, I spoke to his wonderful assistant) who explained that it has a great success rate, it can cost a couple of thousand pounds if you go privately, which would have been my only option (which is considerably less than surgery would cost in the US) – but the problem is that I would need several appointments with this particular doctor over a period of a couple of months – the initial consultation, then full X-Rays and MRI’s, then the actual treatment, then follow up visits with him and some physical therapy –  and as I was flying back to the US at the beginning of February, it was unfortunately not an option.  If you read up on this, you’ll see it’s commonly done in Australia, and again as I said, no doctor required, just a good radiographer (plus x-rays etc.).  It sounds so much better than the MUA, there’s no general anesthetic, recovery time is quick, you can usually leave within an hour or two, and the movement that comes back apparently is remarkable.  Do look into it if you think it might help.  I didn’t do anything about it, although if I was still struggling with FS, that would be my next step, without question – I have read so many positive things about it, and it makes a lot more sense than so many other things (like cortisone injections or surgery).  Here is another article about it, but if you research it, you’ll find a lot of information.


Anyway, while in the UK (my parents and sister live in London), I did my shoulder pulley exercises only a handful of times over the two month period, and really, very irresponsibly just didn’t bother doing much at all to do with the Frozen Shoulder.  I had pretty much given up and decided what will be will be, forget the exercises and stretches, and just let it get on with itself.  I think this total lack of exercise was probably the best thing for me because it made a huge difference.

On a side note, when my mother had her hip assessment in the UK in December (she had her hip replaced a couple of years ago), the nurse who helped us out to our car talked to me about my frozen shoulder – and while other people have said oh, it can take YEARS to come right – she said “Mark my words, one year!  THREE, SIX THREE:  It takes three months during the freezing process, when you have the extreme pain, six months frozen, then three months thawing…. So at the 9 month stage, it will start thawing – you will see the difference.”  It’s only now that I’m looking back and thinking GOSH!  She was right!

I noticed probably in February that a lot of the popping and crackling has stopped.  It was suddenly gone – I could relax my arms and nothing happened i.e. my arm didn’t feel like it was going to jump out of its socket – the movement of the arm was still just as restricted, but the pain and feeling that it was about to be dislocated was gone.  I accidentally bumped my shoulder into the doorway – and braced for the agony – but nothing happened.  No pain – it was just like if I’d bumped my other shoulder.  I didn’t dare hope that the thawing had started, but deep down, I knew something was different, something was changing.  I occasionally did the shoulder pulley exercise, noting that my arm was going much higher (but not by itself, only when doing the exercises), and the muscles were very painful after any exercise, but it was a different kind of pain from before.  I was still struggling to pull my hand behind my back (like you do when you put your bra on).  That was still no further on.  But still – no cracking!  No popping!  No feeling of dislocation!  It was incredible….


So here we are.  It is now April (when I started writing this it was actually my birthday, to be precise and I remember thinking that I could not have had a better birthday gift than getting my shoulder back).  I had been having regular sessions with Dr. Arnold until mid December, when I flew to the UK to see my family for a couple of months but didn’t return to see him since I returned – I had just given up.

As I mentioned, since I returned to the US on 1st February, I have been very lax with my exercises.  I think maybe once every couple of weeks I did a few shoulder pulls on the pulley, a few “hand behind the back pull ups with a strap” (similar motion to when you have to put your bra on) – and that’s about it.  I pretty much gave up and figured I’d just have to learn to live with this disability. I just continued about my daily business, bending over in the shower to wash my face, turning my bra around and doing it up in the front (I had been too lazy to go out and get a front-fastening bra, but that definitely would have helped), struggling with everything else like I had for the past 9 months.

Then I SUDDENLY noticed that it was suddenly a little easier to drive.  I actually could turn the steering wheel with my left hand (without the right hand); my left arm actually had some power back.  I could actually lift it a little on its own.

Then, most unbelievably, on Tuesday night (1st April – I remember the exact date) when I took my shower, normally I had to bend over in the shower to wash my face with both hands (or else just use my right hand to wash my face) – but to my absolute amazement, without thinking, I just washed my face with both hands, standing straight up, perfectly normally, like a normal person!!!.  It was such a normal motion and I did it so naturally that I barely even noticed what had happened and it didn’t really even register (hard to believe but it didn’t).  Then later that night, when unloading the dishwasher, I reached up to a shelf that had normally been out of range – and put the dish back on there.  It really was a shocking moment, and I didn’t say anything to my husband, but I kept on reaching up to the shelf – and to the microwave (which I could NEVER reach with the bad arm).  Suddenly I could easily put a bowl in there and take it out WITH BOTH HANDS!  Unbelievable!  And with very little effort.  Yes there was muscular pain but the movement was there!
The following morning, I brushed my hair with my right hand as always, and reached back with my left hand to put my hair in a pony tail – something I tried to do regularly but was not able to do since July – and amazingly, suddenly, I could do it – I could get my left hand up to the back of my head to hold the hair while my right hand put the scrunchy on.   Granted it wasn’t exactly at the back of my head, it was a little off to the left, but it was absolutely IMPOSSIBLE to do the previous week!  While the muscles did scream a little (obviously not happy at being used again) – my arm lifted much higher than it’s gone since July – by itself – AND I PUT MY HAIR IN A PONY TAIL!!  Hard to believe what a huge achievement this was but it was absolutely MASSIVE.

I can only think that NOT doing anything, or doing very little (and almost totally not exercising while I was in the UK and since I returned) has helped more in the recovery than I can possibly imagine.

This “thawing” has happened so quickly – literally at the end of March, I was still struggling to do anything – and then on that Tuesday, 1st April, as I said, in the shower, suddenly I could wash my face.  It was almost an overnight recovery.

It’s now almost the end of April and I’d say in one month, I have regained 75% of the movement – my internal/external rotation is still terrible and needs a lot of work, but so many other things are possible now.   I can clasp my hands behind my neck (COULD NOT DO THAT LAST MONTH), I can lift my arm in front of me (not quite to vertical but still very high) – BY ITSELF!  I can lift it up on its own and rest it on the top of the door frame.  UNBELIEVABLE! This change is miraculous – and I am dumbfounded as to why this happened and the speed at which it happened.

Incredible.  Doing NOTHING has been the best thing for it, and I wouldn’t have known if I hadn’t just given up in pure frustration.

I DO think that some of the basic exercises helped, and I DO think that Dr. Arnold helped tremendously with massage and his Trigenics, but I also think that in retrospect, the aggressive exercises that the physical therapists made me do were BAD for the frozen shoulder – THEY DID NOT HELP, and the “no pain no gain” attitude is extremely detrimental for anyone with frozen shoulder.  I would NOT have surgery (Manipulation under Anesthesia), nor would I see Dr. Austin and have him do it – just because I now feel that forcing it is not a good idea – I think the body will resolve it when the body is ready – it may take time, but I suppose like any injury with swelling inside, the body has to do what it has to do, and let nature take its course.

I would do the basic exercises, go for massage to keep the blood flowing in the muscular areas, and I would still go and see my wonderful Dr. Arnold regularly.


UPDATE:  9TH JULY 2014:  Shoulder is 95% back to normal – only thing I can’t do is undo my bra with it, although if I use my right arm to position my left arm, THEN I can undo my bra – but I can’t quite get the left arm up there by itself.  I think with some exercises and YOGA (which is highly recommended – I start that shortly, therapeutic/beginner’s yoga) it will get back to 99%.

1.  SHOULDER PULLEY (STRAPPED INTO CHAIR) forwards and sideways:  if you don’t strap yourself in to minimize your body movement, you’ll find you’re really pulling your whole side up (neck and shoulder and arm) instead of moving the joint within the shoulder socket.  I found it much more successful when I was strapped in so that the only thing moving was my arm (and thus the shoulder socket).

CAM02865 CAM02866 CAM02983 CAM02984

This is how I was originally doing this exercise, without being strapped in – my whole body was pulled over and I ended up with terrible back and neck strain.  Still, I couldn’t get my arm up this high until April, it was usually about a 90 degree angle or less.  In my mind, this is totally INCORRECT.


Then my husband made a strap and you can see the difference in my posture while doing this exercise, and when I pulled my arm up, the rest of me stayed in place – only my shoulder joint moved.

correct2 correct3 correctposture strap_correct

I bought the pulley off the internet and my husband made a velcro strap to put my left wrist into, because I started pulling hard on my thumb and injuring it.  Once the wrist strap was in place, it was amazing – my left hand suffered no more pain from pulling on fingers and thumb.  Again, if you want this wrist strap, I can get my husband to make one for you at his factory, $10 including shipping to contiguous USA.  I’m not trying to sell these, or make a profit or anything – this is what it costs him to get them made, labor plus materials, all I want to do is let you know that if you want one, he can get it made in his factory.  It helped me TREMENDOUSLY.  The long strap with the buckle that straps me into the chair prevents any sideways movement, and meant that any movement in the arm being pulled up was actually being done IN the shoulder socket.  Otherwise my whole body was being pulled over sideways.  Again, $10 including shipping if you want one.  Easy enough to make at home – just need a long strap and sew in some sort of buckle or clip, just anything that keeps you still and keeps your shoulder still so that any movement in the shoulder joint is kept localized.

The first pic is how the pulley works (this is my good arm) – it’s easy to use, but for your bad arm (arm with your frozen shoulder), if you are using it like this, you can end up straining the joints in your wrist and fingers and my thumb somehow ended up really feeling painful.  You can see with the wrist strap, the entire wrist and hand is supported, making it easy to pull up and down.

wrist1 wrist2 wriststrap

2.  STRAP WITH LOOPS arm behind back (Shoulder internal rotation with towel) :  the Physical Therapists told me to use a towel, with my right arm (good arm), hold a towel from over my shoulder down my back, and then to reach back with my bad arm and grasp it, and then with my good arm, pull that towel up and down so as to increase the movement of the bad arm.  I did this for a while but started really pulling my thumb out of its socket, so my husband made this strap with a loop on each end – all I do is put the hand on the bad arm in it, and let it rest, and then it is pulled easily up and down.  If you want one of these straps, which I absolutely SWEAR by, let me know, I can get my husband to make one in his factory for you, $10 including shipping to the USA – it absolutely saved me and while a towel does work, I found that grasping and holding onto it with my left hand started injuring the left hand and thumb.  By simply placing the whole wrist into the loop, it stopped any injuries to the left hand!



3. PENDULUM (if you research “Pendulum exercise” on the internet you’ll find tons of information about this).  I tried to do this regularly but found it most uncomfortable, especially when I was doing it correctly – there was clicking and weird sensations and sometimes pain and I just hated it – but I think it is still a good exercise to get the full circular rotation going in the shoulder.

4. ARM ON TABLE (where you push your arm along a table, first to the side, and then in front of you) – it’s hard to explain so look at “frozen shoulder exercises, arm on table”, for example.

5. BROOM HANDLE:  I was told to lie on the bed holding a broom horizontally in front of me and lift that over my head as far as I could.   Then try to push it down over my head onto the bed.   All this did was cause excruciating pain.  Maybe it helped, maybe it didn’t, all I know was that it was very painful and movement was extremely limited – I tried to push down with my good arm, stretching the bad shoulder as much as possible – and it was agony.  I mention it because it may help you, it may not – try it and see.  If you don’t like it, don’t do it.  There is also one with the broom (or walking stick) that you push the arms from side to side – have a look at the attached .pdf files and you’ll see how they’re done.


7. CLASP HANDS BEHIND HEAD (impossible to do back then but now I can do it).


I have researched exercises for hours and hours on the internet, watched hundreds of youtube videos, and no doubt you will have done the same.  The internet can be such a great source of help!  Here are some things I found out that may help….

The one below is listed on the Sheffield Trust website, part of the NHS (National Health Service) in the UK.  It is a .pdf file.  If you cannot read it, let me know and I can email you my copy.  Again, I’m not saying this worked better than anything else, it just has a list of exercises recommended by the NHS for people with a frozen shoulder.

Frozen shoulder exercises NHS

Here is another great sheet of exercises for you to choose from, with pictures (vey helpful):

Frozen Shoulder Exercises_kaiserPermanente_tcm28-180808

THE MOST HELPFUL THING OF ALL WITH THE EXERCISES WAS WHEN THE BAD ARM WAS BEING LIFTED UP AND DOWN (by the pulley, for example) ALWAYS TRY TO ENGAGE THE MUSCLES.  In other words, if you’re doing the shoulder pulley, when you have pulled your bad arm as high as it will go, instead of just letting it drop limply and slowly (all exercises should always be done slowly) ENGAGE THE MUSCLES.  Use your other arm to hold onto the pulley (create resistance) so that you have to really use your bad arm and engage those muscles to bring it down.  Tensing it up in the first few months hurt terribly and I heard and felt all kinds of pops and grinding and clicks and muscle cramps – but I got better results tensing the muscles and engaging them than if I just let it go down slowly and limply.  I must admit that often I could not engage the muscles because of all the weird sensations and it was much easier for me just to let the arm go limply down – but the more I engaged the muscles, the more I knew it was a good thing. 

This works for all exercises – when Dr. Arnold would help me lift my arms by standing in front of me, I would lean on his arms and push up (he would resist me, making me use quite a lot of effort) and then when I got as high as I could, instead of just letting the arms go down limply and leaning on him, he again resisted me so that I was PUSHING (engaging my muscles).  I truly think this was KEY because when I was on my own doing shoulder pulls, if I didn’t engage the muscles, then I would continue with the same range of motion – the minute I engaged the muscles and had to PUSH my arm down or up – the next time I did that movement, I went further!

When I was doing any other exercises or stretching, if I got to the point that I could not raise or move my bad arm any further, Dr. Arnold would ask me to push down in the opposite direction, so I’d engage the muscles and really push on him, and then he’d say ok relax, and then the arm could then go further back than it had before, in the original direction, simply because of engaging the muscles. 

I really really hope this has helped a little, at least you know you’re not alone, there are lot of options, tons of articles and videos on the internet dedicated to people with frozen shoulder/adhesive capsulitis, and there are a lot of people who have had it or have it now.  You are not alone.  If you have any questions, please feel free to email me at

afriendlyshoulder at gee mail dot com

GOOD LUCK AND HANG IN THERE – IT WILL GET BETTER!  If you want any of the straps that my husband made for me, let me know.  He owns a marine canvas and upholstery factory in Miami and can get them made for you and I can ship them.  Alternatively, look at the pictures and you can probably make them easily yourself – I know there are lots of arts and crafts stores that sell velcro and straps and things – I HIGHLY RECOMMEND THE USE OF THESE STRAPS AND WRIST BANDS when doing exercises.  The last thing you want is to be struggling to hold onto a pulley and then injuring your thumb or fingers.


89 thoughts on “My frozen shoulder experience

  1. Anonymous

    Wow. Thank you SO MUCH for your story. I’m reading all I can about Frozen Shoulder, and your story is such a comfort.

    1. Andrea Roberts

      This was a very thorough and thoughtfully related journey. Thank you for sharing your experience. I broke my arm and dislocated my right shoulder in mid October, and was just diagnosed with FS in early January (two weeks ago). It is such a strange phenomenon to experience, and since it develops in such varied and unique ways, with successful treatment being just as equally varied (and with unpredictable results), it’s very perplexing. Your story made me feel less alone, and it was comforting to see that you went through similar “mental gymnastics” and a myriad of emotions, ranging from desperation, to acceptance, and everything in between. I feel that I will stop at nothing to heal myself and even more to educate myself. Sharing all of your treatment information and resources was so absolutely helpful. Thank you!

      I am thrilled for your success, and it makes me feel hopeful that the same is in store for me, as well.

    2. Pauline McLeod

      Wow. I needed this today. I’ve been spending lots of money on physio (already dispensed with that), chiro (unbelievably painful with little result), exercising a little each day, terrible nights, suicidal thoughts – so THANK YOU!! I have a massage appointment today, supposed to be very good, the journey continues – but my heart is much lighter.

      1. afrozenshoulder Post author

        I guess I’m not very bright – I did dozens of physiotherapy sessions, paying them $50 a time (being told it was the copay on my insurance – only to find out later, when I called my insurance company, that not a SINGLE session had been reported in to them – so the physiotherapy place was keeping my $50 payments for themselves) – and then when I finally DID tell them hey, I QUIT – I can’t afford this any more – they suddenly found out oh, that I can now pay $50 a month for unlimited sessions, seeing as how I’ve made such great progress. Honestly! I can’t believe I was such a sucker and paid them so much money – coming out really not a heck of a lot better than when I went in. I’m sure there are lots of physio places that really are great – but I can’t say I was thrilled with mine. Yes, some of the exercises that I did at home I think DID help (once they were modified) – as you’ll see in my blog – but these physios had never experienced a frozen shoulder, couldn’t relate, couldn’t believe that I wasn’t just a big baby when I had tears pouring down my cheeks from the pain – so when you say you gave up physio, I have to smile broadly. Wish I’d woken up and smelled the coffee after forking out all that $$ to chumps that seemed more interested in the latest football scores on their phones. Anyway, moving on….. GOOD LUCK WITH THE MASSAGE! Is it a special kind of massage? Sports massage? deep tissue? Do keep us posted – everyone who reads the blog reads the comments, and we all want to know how we (we as a group of sufferers!) are doing! So please let us know……

  2. Claudia

    Thank you so much for sharing your experience and I am very happy to hear you are now nearly fully recovered. You are so right by saying that only other FS sufferers can really understand what you are going through and what a frustrating condition it is. I am now in my 7 month of FS in my right arm and developed it as a secondary condition after a small tear in the tendon due to injury just after turning 38 and I have come to accept that there are not miraculous techniques to sort it out.

    I live in London,UK, and I self diagnosed the FS myself after several unfruitful visits to the GP by researching symptoms. I received some physiotherapy to start with ( two sessions) but had to stop because it only irritated the shoulder further. Went through a month and a half period where only a combination of prescribed pain killers (codeine, paracetamol and naproxen) every 4 hours would help me get through the day and get at least two hours asleep without waking up in pain. After X ray, ultra sound and MRI and with the diagnosis in hand I visited an orthopaedic surgeon that sent me for an Arthographic dystension that unfortunately has not worked on me… ( by that time the pain had already subsided a lot, I wasn’t taking pain killers any more, ACHIEVEMENT!) only eventually some advil pm before going to sleep and although nothing got worse after the injection, the mobility did not improved either.

    I visit a Neil Asher osteopath every week for an hour for the past two months now and she is very helpful as the massages are lovely and she is able to move my arm much further than I can on my own, always avoiding to cause pain, movement has also improved slightly. I have a very good follow up routine set with the NHS physiotherapist and perhaps in a month another Hydro distension will be considered but for the time being only slight stretches are an option. I I know there is light at the end of the tunnel and that a lot of patience is required to get through this in the best possible way. For me, the remission of pain was a major break through as I now can sleep the entire night and only feel stiff in the morning 🙂 Have had a very good response from all the NHS professionals that are and are involved with me at this point ( not so happy with the private OS I visited- “money making machine”) and I am very happy with my osteopath. There is light at the end of the tunnel and I will remind myself to write again once I am fully recovered. I send my best wishes to you for a 100% recovery and to our fellow FS sufferers all I can recommend is patience and a good osteopath!

    Thanks for allowing the rambling 🙂 xoxo

  3. megan Jennings

    Thanks for sharing. quite an accurate account. The pain is incredible in the first phase. There are so many beliefs on how to treat FS. In my case I had an injection into the shoulder joint which eased the inflammation done by a specialist. He said don’t worry with physio as it will not help. I still went to physio as I needed the moral support but ended up not doing many of the exercises. Slowly it is getting better, though I do not have the full rotation of the shoulder as yet but at least I can sleep on it.

  4. Tamara Bennett

    Thank you for sharing … and documenting so many wonderful options, you really tried everything!!! It has been 15 months for me and two specialists here in NZ say I have what is called a “stuck frozen” shoulder, which is stuck in the freezing stage. I get 2 monthly chiropractic treatment and have now added weekly Chinese Tui Na massage which I think is working wonders. Plus doing stretches several times a day at home. I teach 16 tai chi classes a week and have carried on all the way through, even though most of the time I’ve had only one arm working. I’m getting worried as my 2nd shoulder is now getting sore … please don’t let it get frozen! I have another appointment with the specialist and will ask him about hydro dilation. He wants to do a surgical capsule release, but I looked on You tube and freaked out! My son is at the NZ Chiropractic College, so I have just emailed him to ask his instructors what different techniques they may offer to help me?
    No one will tell me how these adhesions appeared?
    I do remember when I injured my shoulder, two times within a few months. (Fencing on our farm and handling sheep for shearing)
    I am almost used to the loss of movement …, but am losing the plot totally from the sleep deprivation! I have tried everything!

  5. Lisa

    I’m only three months in and have been to see GP; orthopaedic surgeon; had a cortizone shot; Physio (which I quit), massage and now osteopath. I’m not too frozen, i haven’t stopped using it; but frozen enough that I can’t put a pony tail in and have trouble dressing. I do a lot of gardening, all heavy below my chest work. I’m so afraid of losing all muscle tone. I seem to sleep with my bad shoulder down, keeping it as still as possible. Every now and then I have extreme shooting pain through my pecs. I also seem to bump my shoulder constantly and it brings me to my knees every time. I have larger farm animals and they bump me all the time. Just waiting for the day I bump it and the pain isn’t there. Wishing time away. 😦

  6. Sal

    Hello and I am incredibly sorry to hear what you have gone through. I had a labrum tear which was officially diagnosed after an MRI (authrogram). I lived with pain for years but after the authrogram I noticed my shoulder getting progressively worse. (An authrogram involves dye/contrast being injected into the shoulder joint to allow for any tears to show up via the MRI scan). My shoulder rapidly ‘froze’ over the next few months to the point where I could barely lift it to a 90 degree angle in front of me.

    Long story short, I had authroscopic surgery which addressed the long standing labrum tear, followed by MUA – Manipulation Under Anestesia. I immediately felt better. The day after surgery I was able to lift my arm almost vertically with the help of the pulley. Granted the tear was minimal and didn’t required any reconstruction, it was just a clean out procedure. Most importantly the frozen state of my shoulder was no more. I followed this with many of the stretches you outlined and am still doing them.

    I would recommend MUA if at all possible for those suffering from this debilitating condition.

    All the best to you!

  7. Louie

    I have this. It started 20 months ago as a pain in my right arm. After getting the runaround from my doctors and by the way I play guitar which is my life he told me to take up piano he was fired he also did nothing he lied about giving me an injection in my joint and then billed me for it. I got the same runaround I gave up and then I got it in my left arm. So I have double frozen shoulders so 10 months in my left arm 20 months in my right arm. At about 16 months my right arm’s finally started to thaw it’s about maybe 80% better but has atrophied. I am using voice control on my cell phone I believe that my cell phone helped contribute to a lot of my problems I got dequervains which is in the thumbs from texting. Now in my arm that is frozen for only 10 months I’m having strange things like wrist issues red pinky knuckle and a bent pinky which I think again is from the cell phone. Sorry for the inappropriate grammar and punctuation because again I’m using voice control. I feel that the best thing you can do and that’s just my opinion is let the body heal itself and it will but you have to have patience and it takes a lot of patience and then once you are better then you can start strengthening your muscles again. I also believe I have neck stiffness issues and that may have attributed to it but not everybody else has it.

  8. Hyla P

    Your story brought me to tears as I’m 3 months into my FS in my right shoulder. I barely sleep as every time I move, I wake up with shooting pain down my arm. I know I wake my husband too so neither of us sleep well. I’m meeting a PT this week for the first time, but I’m skeptical. I just learned of the Triogenics (I’m in Toronto) but that scares me a little too. I’d love to hear from anyone who has gone through it (successfully or not) as all I get when I google it is information directly from the clinic itself (so, of course all positive reviews). It’s definitely debilitating me – I’m a runner so I manage to still run – but same experience as you in everything else – all daily life is affected. My family is traveling to Costa Rica in 5 weeks and if all is status quo, I won’t be able to zip line or do any of the planned activities – the original reason we booked this destination…
    I have a fairly high pain threshold so I’m praying that with treatment, this will go away soon….

    1. Tamara Bennett

      It is now coming up to almost 2 years for me and I still cannot move my arm up past shoulder height … and still just the tip of my thumb touching my lower bum cheek if I try to see how far I can move it up my back (it would be nice for it to actually at least touch my back). However my specialist thinks my AC joint is now causing my fs not to regain it’s movement, so I’m booked in for surgery sometime in the next 3 months.
      Hyla if it is only 3 months for you, I would suggest a hydro-dilation with cortisone, apparently done in the early stages can have some great results. And even a bit of MUA at the same time?
      Good luck … try to still enjoy life, don’t let fs take you down too much.
      Smiles Tamara

    2. Silvia

      Hi Hyla,

      I’m wondering how you feel now, year and a half since you wrote of your frozen shoulder here?

      I too am in Toronto and am suffering from FS in right arm (I think I’m somewhere between freezing and frozen), and I’m trying to decide on the best course of treatment.

      My initial thought was to let it run its course and regularly see an ostheopath and a massage therapist to help me with the secondary neck issues. However, the progression of pain and the extend on ROM loss is pushing me to do something about this. Very soon.

      Did you ended up doing Trigenics? Or anything else?
      Do you have any advice or recommendations for doctors or practitioners in Toronto?

      Hope that you are fully healed and back to life unobstructed 🙂

      1. Hyla P

        Hi Sylvia. I wish I could say I’m totally healed but I can say I’m much, much better. I did NOT do trigenics as I thought it was a huge scam when I went for a consult. What did help the most was the hydro dilation. The whole procedure took 30 seconds and it was virtually painless (the area was frozen).
        When the freezing wore off I was sore but not much more than I was with the frozen shoulder. After a few days I had much more movement.
        I had a cortisone shot not long after and I couldn’t believe the change. With that and Physio I practically have full mobility. There is still some pain when I raise it a certain way but not comparable at all to the pain I had during the freezing/frozen stage. That was pretty brutal.
        I recommend the procedure for sure. I had it done by a radiologist as he had to do it by X-Ray to ensure he was injecting the saline into the right place.

        Wishing you all the best. I hope you find relief faster rather than slower.

    3. Silvia

      Hi Hyla,

      Thank you for your fast response! Very kind of you.

      Hydrodilatation (capsular distention) sounds like the best treatment to me right now. The OAT (Trigenics) procedure scares the living lights out of me – I am not a very trusting patient in general.

      I’m so glad to hear that you are on your way to a full recovery (I know that it may take time but we have to strive to heal fully). All the best to you!

      1. Janice

        Like you I am not very trusting of medical procedures but the more I researched the more I realized I was probably in month 4 of 18 months of pain and little sleep. As I could not find a single review about Trigenics that was discouraging and was even able to find someone in my community who had had the procedure and highly recommended it, I took a leap of faith. I am so, so glad I did. I had the procedure November 30th, 2016 and like so many others I met there, right away I could raise my arm all the way up! Before the procedure I could only raise it about 20 degrees from my side! The procedure was painful but in that 30 minutes it was no worse that what I experienced every night before the procedure, just rooted into 30 minutes. The exercises too were painful especially at first but not that excruciating pain from before. I can now sleep a full 8 hours! I can reach the highest shelf without pain and can reach for the sal without discomfort. Reaching behind apparently takes longer but I can grab my other hand albeit with some discomfort. If you are still suffering I would highly recommend!

    4. Ainslie Roberts

      Hi Hyla,
      In your post from July 8, 2016 you state what helped your frozen shoulder the most was “hydro dilation”. Where did you have this treatment done?
      I have had a frozen shoulder for 4 months now. I had a CT-guided cortisone injection which helped with the pain but not with the ROM.
      I am currently going to see a Chinese dr. who does acupuncture and manipulation. He is also an Osteopath. This is helping a bit, but I am still struggling with ROM.
      Thanks for posting.

  9. Elisme

    I have frozen shoulder in both shoulders. I am 48 and have Never had or heard about this before. My neck was also very stiff when it all started six months ago. I have gone through extreme emotional happenings re life partner (selling-his-house-stress taken out on me) and all three my children moving far away from home, all happening in one year. The final straw that brought my shoulders to a still stand, was a small altercation between my son and my mother. So. It was a break-up, empty-nest syndrome, and a moody 74yr old mother that i firmly believe, ‘froze’ my shoulders.
    Checking my ‘blind-spots’ in traffic, reaching my bra-strap, washing my hair, armpits and face, was impossible. Let alone tying a ponytail.
    I have visited Physio’s (whom diagnosed me with ‘frozen-shoulder’), which has brought relief and very slow improvement. I can now tie a ponytail with Great pain following and touch the lower part of my buttock.
    Once a week i take an ‘Adcodol’ just to be able to sleep through the night without been woken by pain.
    This is a very real condition and yes – time and major patience – and only in calm house
    holdings and stress-less work environments, can heal this. I had to learn not to reciprocate to immature comments from colleagues or my mother.
    I strongly believe that my mental health is linked to my shoulders (physical health). Bet you
    think i am crazy…


    1. Nannette

      I too am a 48 yo empty nester. My daughters are establishing their lives and helping them through the twenties is hard for a parent.You are only ever as happy as your unhappiest child. My mom has early onset Alzheimers and I had to pick her up and put her in a home in FL near us where I suffer guilt if I don’t visit often.All while having this. I am three months in and in excruciating pain. I still work and commute 60 hours a week at a stressful position all with no sleep. I just wanted you to know you are not alone. I share your 48 year old boat. I share your pain.
      Make sure to get a simple blood test. I had high calcium and I suspect the calcification of my tendons is related.

      As Tamara below said, double hugs and smiles.

    2. adaves

      I hear you and agree. I’m a therapist and developed frozen shoulder a few months ago. I believe somehow it is related to emotional health. I see an ortho next week and my therapist tomorrow.

      1. Maria

        I had a pain in my shoulder since June and still hurting up to now. Im just hoping it will go away. I self referred myself for a physio and gave me some exercises which I feel did not help. She sets me up to exercise on a Mojo machine but as its painful I stopped using it. I just kept taking pain relief, it helps a little and pain is back again after a while.It feels like its out of my arm socket, i can’t even comb my hair and hard to lift my arm. I am planning to see a chiropractor hopefully they could help, the pain is in my right arm. I work as a phlebotomist so I thought it might be repetitive injury but when I spoke to the doctor he said its a frozen shoulder and gave a strong pain killer. I cant sleep on my right side as it hurts so much so I sleep on my back or left side but sometimes when you are asleep and turned on my right its an excrusiating pain. I’m just hoping it go away soon, just a sudden movement or being bump on my right it’s painful.

  10. Tamara Bennett

    Ok first … HUGS
    Second … Yes you are most likely crazy and this is the best way to be, far more fun and less responsibility!
    A health colleague told me that frozen should is often linked to situations where we are “shouldering too much” and we ignore this and carry on. Then our body’s only choice is to physically manifest something drastic enough to stop us in our tracks.
    I’m in the middle of a few Bowen treatments and I actually think this is helping my FS … so this may be another thing to try?
    Of course we all also need to look at what is going on in our life and consider making some changes …
    Double hugs
    Smiles Tamara

  11. Eric Smith

    Thanks for sharing your experience. It sounds like what I’m going through. People just can’t imagine, until you live it. I really appreciate your website. I’ve tried so many things.
    Did you every find anyone to talk to about the OAT procedure in Canada? I mean someone that has experience with it? I have contacted them, but I’m leery. $7500 I’m worried about long time effects. I really need to get past this shoulder. It’s very debilitating for my job.

  12. Shankar

    Nice post. I saw myself in most part of write up.
    FS is aggravated by diabetes and controlling it is very much necessary to return to normalcy

  13. Lisa

    Thank you so much for sharing this information. Today, May 4, 2016, I am faced with the decision to have a cortisone injection or manipulation under anesthesia. I contemplated (greatly) going for the most invasive procedure just to avoid ‘wasting my time’, but your key words about ‘the body will heal when it’s ready to heal…’ (mirror my internal thoughts) and for that I’m rethinking it all. Thanks again! And God bless, and good luck to you in the future.

  14. diane craft

    it has now been three years and i have muscle degeneration and sharp jabbing pain in shoulder blade top of arm and into neck i can only walk short distances as it starts aching and if i try to push on i end up in server pain i now have depression from dealing with this pain for three years and i still cant lift my arm out over my head and the pain i get is set of from using my arms either lifting up down doctor says its now gone into secondary condition of nerve pain i am besides myself as my whole life has changed there is nothing much i can do that doesnt course pain i have lost my job in retail and all enjoyment in life as its to painful to do anything once it starts i can only walk short distances and drive short distances i am now going through a battle with the insurance company as they dont see an injury so they think i am faking it i am beside myself and at my age of 61 the prospect of me getting a job is slim to none as i have only done retail and as i could not carry out all my duties my work put me off to rest one year ago until now they say retail may not be an option for me any more as i cant lift and do repetive tasks required so down and out i dont no where my life is going and i dont know me i often ask my self how the hell did i get to this point what happened and i dont know myself anymore. The pain i have been through is massive and the harrasment from the insurance company and everyone pushing me has just about pushed me over the edge i have an appointment with an orthopaedic surgeon for an immediate medical assessment that was arrange by the insurance company that works for them so things arent looking good for me right now all they want is a reason to stop paying me compensation and get me off there books as they dont see an injury they dont believe there is one if only they new the pain i am still getting try to live day to day and so the simplest things that have now become a struggle is there an end to this and what is to become of me at my age with no income on own and renting i have feelings of taking myself out as life has got ontop of me and i just dont see the point in anything anymore if this is what life has become and people that hassel me none stop what is the point in being here

    1. afrozenshoulder Post author

      Diane, please please please don’t give up, it sounds like you have been dealt a really bad hand, and what with the constant pain, prolonged fatigue, emotional and physical exhaustion, not to mention the other awful influences going on with you – your job, insurance etc., it must feel absolutely desperate and futile – so I do understand. All I can say is that I hope you can reach out to other people and tell them how tough it is for you, especially your orthopaedic surgeon – tell him/her all these things, and I’m sure they will do their best to help in every way – please don’t give up, you’ve just been given a LOT to cope with – more than most people, and I wish I could help… please write back to me, or post on this forum, just let us know how you’re doing – already other people have asked about you, so people do care! Hang in there…… I truly hope you get some relief, and that the insurance company doesn’t stop paying you compensation – that would be absolutely terrible, so please, let me know how you’re doing, OK? If I can help in ANY way, please let me know, OK?

  15. Dorothy Clemmer

    I decided to read through all of the blogs and found yours clear at the bottom. I am going to say a Rosary for you tonight. I am sitting here crying for you, everybody has left the office. Please please do not despair or take your own life. We are with you. Our Dear Lord is with you! We don’t know why He asked you to carry this cross, but He did. I don’t know why I read to the bottom of this article, but I did. You are close to retirement – receiving SS checks and Medicare shouldn’t be too far off. Certainly you can get disability if you are unable to hold a job. I know a man who has bipolar disease (BTW that condition is treatable with medicine) and he’s been a total dead-beat, receiving disability checks for 10 years!!! I am happy to talk to you if you just need someone to talk to. Send your phone number to I’m only 53. I’ve had my FS for only 6 months. God bless you, Diane. We’re pulling for you. Don’t give up.

  16. Kristin Peek

    Thank you so much for this! I believe I am in Phase 2…which someone referred to as “Blackout Phase”. It’s quite fitting. I begin PT this week after my first steroid shot last week. Thank you for addressing the emotional side of this also. I am really beginning to feel the effects of this psychologically. I suppose due to lack of mobility and some weight gain. I’m also trying not to take the perceived pain pills or muscle relaxers (for sleep) unless I absolutely have to. I’m scared to death of the PT, but it can’t be any worse than the pain I’ve been in for the last 4 months.

    1. afrozenshoulder Post author

      I know in my case, prolonged fatigue from lack of sleep made it so much worse – I struggled to cope with the smallest things after months and months of maybe an hour or two of sleep a night (if I was lucky) – and the constant pain wears you down till you’re not the same person you used to be. It just reinforces in me how much better life can be after a good meal, a hot bath, and a good night’s sleep…. those three things can change everything – and a good night’s sleep is so elusive when you’re struggling with this – so my thoughts are with you, it’s a horrible place to be, and I really hope the PT goes well for you – write back any time, OK? Everyone reading your comment is going to feel for you…. I think we’ve pretty much all been where you are and we know how depressing it can be…… so sorry for you 😦

      1. Kristi Peek

        It truly is healing to read your story, as well as others. I’ll let everyone know about the PT…😳. Btw, I forgot to mention, I also have a torn labrum and an enchondromeda (calcified tumor). I believe Addressing these items delayed the FS Diagnosis and put me a little behind. Thank you so much for your reply.

  17. Shankar

    Frozen shoulder is now known that it is time takes time to heal and it heals naturally. We can not hasten the process from months to overnight heal. We need only patience. Recently I met orthopedic doctor and he indicated I might have damaged a ligament (ligament tear) while exercising and advised, as we grow older we should not do vigorous exercises one do in twenties.

  18. Heather Macfarlane

    Thanks you for the article. .yes its so good to not feel alone in this awful.journey. .mine is even more complicated. .after an extremely bad fall i completely destroyed my right elbow ..with 3 plates and over 30 pins it was castin a straight position. .i had to start pt to try and bend my arm ..after 3 months of exterme pain trying to bend i had to buy $1000 a splint that bends my elbow shoulder then began to freeze .great i have pt for elbow and shoulder. .and like everyone no sleep , days of tears etc ..i am a professional artist in glass and other mediums and therefore cant work , i have a 5 year old who has to help me dress and a husband who has to braid my hair ..( this is what frustrates me the most that i cant do ..) i dont feel like my life has ended but i feel that i am in some bizarre standstill extreme pain planet where i am gaving to distance myself from what was my very active creative life ..i also am following a strict diet of tumeric and other herbal meds..which i feel is helping. .letme know if youwant me too elaborate. .good luck to all. .thank you again for this forum to talk..

    1. afrozenshoulder Post author

      So sorry to hear your story……. it is so debilitating – you become really disabled and it’s impossible to do the most basic things, things you normally take for granted – I couldn’t even wash my face in the shower (not with my left hand)….. let alone brush my hair – or even braid it – so you are in good company – not that that helps….. so sorry! and YES YES YES YES PLEASE! SHARE YOUR DIET DETAILS!!!! I know turmeric is a fantastic anti-inflammatory – also has anti-cancer/carcinogenic qualities – so it should really be in every meal – I know not everyone will be interested in hearing the details, but I’d say the majority will – and I know I do!!!! So yes please! 🙂
      I can’t believe the pain you must have been in – after your fall – that is just horrific…. have you been able to bend your elbow yet? you have my deepest sympathies, and I’m sure all of the blog’s readers send you heartfelt best wishes and sympathies 😦

      1. Kristi Peek

        So many different stories and so many different situations. Just curious as to whether or not anyone has heard that they might link this to hormones? My PT told me there have been several articles recently on this. My first PT session was Friday. She stated that it was probably one of the worst she’s seen. Although I was in extreme pain the next morning, I feel that just after one session, my range of movement has improved. I have 3 sessions next week and they also want to try dry needling. I’ll let y’all know how that does. May your day be blessed with minimal pain and hope for resolution.

  19. afrozenshoulder Post author

    Yes, I’ve heard comments about it being linked to hormones – also being told it’s hereditary (nobody in my family has EVER had this, or even heard of it) – I’ve been told so many things and frankly, didn’t believe most of it after a while, seemed like they were grasping at straws. If they asked me “do you smoke?” (I don’t), but if I said YES, they’d say well, this is because of you smoking. If I said oops, I mean no, I DON”T smoke, they’d say, well, do you drink? I’d say yes – they’d say well it’s because of that – then I’d say no, I DON”T drink – they’d say well, do you eat cheese? I’d say yes and they’d say well, this is obviously related to cheese! (they didn’t actually say cheese, I”m just using that as an example)….. they tried to blame every possible thing. I have heard other FS sufferers say that some of them had been told it was related to hormones – but again, I don’t know, and I don’t think anyone really knows for sure 😦 I guess it might be? But then it might not be? Some people are given hormones, some are given steroids…. some of them work, some of them don’t – it just seems unknown. Do read through other people’s comments though, some of them talk about the hormonal aspect…

  20. Caitlyn Duffy

    I am so grateful to have found this page! I have been in dire pain since January – so I’m about four months into this nightmare. My regular doctor, who I like but I don’t think he really understands this injury at all, thinks I’m being dramatic. He told me to go for physical therapy and take Aleve. Meanwhile, the only thing that ever makes my shoulder and arm feel better is running on the treadmill for a while and swinging the arm a little, which I’ve feared was making it worse (it’s not, though – the worst is sneezing). I honestly thought I had torn the rotator cuff, the pain has been so intense. I don’t sleep well at night and I have gotten into a bad habit of sleeping for two or three hours in the early evening because I’m so physically wiped out. In my case, I think a pinched nerve in my neck two years ago may have brought this on over a long period of time, which makes me really annoyed with myself for not going to the chiropractor earlier on and dealing with it. So for now, I’m going to keep up with moderate running and go to my chiropractor instead of for PT to keep my spine and shoulders aligned.
    Diane – please hang in there – you’re not alone. Thank you – all of you – for sharing your stories about frozen shoulder! I’m 40 and in pretty good shape. This has totally knocked me on my butt for the last four months.

    1. afrozenshoulder Post author

      Most doctors don’t understand – in fact, I’ve yet to find a SINGLE one, including the orthopedic surgeon I saw, that a) understood b) knew about it and c) sympathized. It’s not like a broken bone that they can see, x-rays don’t show up anything, so it’s like an invisible monster. In fact, that’s what I’m going to call it from now on, the invisible monster. They think well, it’s not a break or a fracture or a dislocation, so how painful could it be? I know they ALL think we’re over-reacting, are making a big fuss about something very small, and that it’s really not a big deal. It’s FRUSTRATING to say the least…. to HAVE this infliction, and then not to be believed, or taken seriously, or treated like it’s something serious. I’m really sorry that’s what you’re also going through – the pain is absolutely mind-numbing – and nobody understands just how excruciating it is. They don’t realize that a sneeze, or a simple tap on the shoulder, can make you scream in agony. It’s horrendous….. BY THE WAY, I’M TRYING TO DO A SURVEY – DO YOU SLEEP ON YOUR SIDE OR YOUR BACK? I’m trying to find out if there’s a correlation between FS and people sleeping on their sides where they put a lot pf pressure on their shoulder joint…..
      I think it’s a great idea to go to your chiropractor, I was totally lopsided after this, and my chiro took a while to align me again – wish I’d gone to him immediately! So good luck, please keep us posted, and let me know about the side/back sleeping….. GOOD LUCK!

  21. Caitlyn Duffy

    A quick update on my painful situation! Ignoring my doctor’s advice to just take Aleve for a year, I went to my chiropractor, who told me in all of the cases of frozen shoulder she’s seen, there are 3 issues at play:
    1) an untreated or unnoticed nerve/disc issue in the neck
    2) some kind of hormonal imbalance, but this can be cortisol and stress, not just menopause-related (it’s true that this mostly happens to women, but female hormones are not always to blame)
    3) a shoulder irritation/injury that sets the muscle adhesion into play.
    If you’re suffering from frozen shoulder, please please please go to a chiropractor and have your neck examined. I’ve had a pinched nerve in my neck for a while from staring at a computer screen for a decade, and it turns out that having my neck adjusted almost instantly gave me a few more inches of motion in my arm. On top of that, today I went for acupuncture in the shoulder and also had some cupping done on the back of the shoulder: a few more inches of painless mobility gained!
    I know not all insurance covers chiropractor visits and acupuncture, but in my own case, the relief provided by both was worth paying out of pocket. I still have a long road ahead, but my acupuncturist has told me that I must avoid caffeine for a very long time, and I absolutely must keep exercising – not only to keep the arm in motion, but to keep cortisol levels low. 

    1. afrozenshoulder Post author

      I think that’s great advice – chiropractors are probably some of the most under appreciated people on the planet – and if you find a good one, hold on to him/her and NEVER let them go! They can do amazing things….. if you try a chiropractor and aren’t happy, try another one – I’ve found “lesser” ones and “greater” ones, like in any field. Good luck Caitlyn! I did also ask locally about acupuncture, but the acupuncturists I spoke to were not very positive about treating for frozen shoulder, said they didn’t think it would help – so I didn’t pursue it – but I think I should have tried harder to find someone who was more positive about it. I did not know about the avoiding caffeine thing – that’s interesting. Anyway, please keep us updated! And I hope you continue to get improvements this way – thanks for the post!

  22. Debra

    Thank you for your journey, it’s so tough to comprehend how helpless one feels. I think I’m so frustrated as I never quite understand where I am in this journey. Ongoing issues physio, acupuncture sorted what they called rotator cuff injury last July 2015. Ok till January 2016 then progressively severe pain with frozen shoulder diagnosis by ortho in early May2016. Had the steroid shot which only seemed to aggravate the condition and am just now at the constant pain stage with less and less rom. Been having physio for last 7-8 weeks with very little progress. Can’t wash hair or body properly, struggling to drive and look after hubby and sons 😥 Sorry guys just feeling a touch low. Wish I knew if my almost 6 months of pain means I’m almost through the worst of the pain

    1. afrozenshoulder Post author

      Please don’t apologize, we all (those of us who have been through it) know exactly how awful you feel. You’re tired, not just the kind of tired that a good night’s sleep will fix, but prolongued fatigue…. many many nights of restlessness, poor interrupted sleep, you’re in constant pain, struggling to cope with the most basic things, tired of the pain, tired of not knowing….. it’s a horrible horrible place, and we all sympathize greatly. I know we all have different time periods when things get worse or better – but just hope your time is on you, where the pain fades… ugh, just feel so sorry for you, poor girl 😦 hubby and sons should be taking care of you at this point – they probably can’t imagine that you really are feeling the pain you say you feel – nobody REALLY understands unless they’ve been through it – but hopefully they are helping you as much as they can. It’s horrible. I think for that whole year, only the right side of my head was shampooed with my right arm that was working ok, the right hand side of my face too…. and the rest, well, just didn’t care. driving – well, I drive about 100 miles a day and it was awful – the seatbelt REALLY aggravated it – made it even worse than you can imagine – and just trying to hold the steering wheel with the left hand – again, almost impossible – so I totally know what you’re going through. please feel free to vent ANY TIME! WE’RE HERE FOR YOU DEBRA!!!!! We all (all the readers) send our best and really hope it eases up soon…….

    2. Silvia

      Hi Debra,

      It seems that we are, more or less, on the same timeline. I think that I am somewhere between freezing and frozen – but how do I know for sure? My too started as a different shoulder condition in October 2015 (bursitis and tendonitis, maybe an impingement syndrome for which I was referred for a surgery twice, they couldn’t agree), for which I was receiving physio for about a month. Then the condition quickly got worse, lots of aching pain began, then the horrid pain with certain movements too, and then gradual loss of ROM until now when I can barely lift a spoon to my mouth and have to have help with dressing myself, and the pain wakes me up at night.

      I took the cortisone shot on June 23rd. It didn’t seem to have make any difference. My physio therapist said to wait to do more therapy for about three months, because supposedly the steroid needs time to work and that the therapy isn’t as effective the three months after the shot.
      I know that I will not be doing any more steroid shots – I don’t have faith in it, plus I have been warned against doing it more twice in the same area, especially if there are already weakened tendons in play.

      Meanwhile I’m trying to decide what to do next. I feel your (and al of you others’) pain – I feel debilitated and fearful for my health and future overall. I also depend on my arm (it’s the right one and I’m profoundly right-handed) for my livelihood and haven’t been able to work for months now. Hence I need to do something rather than waiting it out.

      Hang in there Debra. I’m here with you from afar, and am looking forward to us sharing our successful stories of healing in the future.

  23. pollymcleod

    I got no relief from several sessions of physio. I researched massage therapists in my area that specifically treat frozen shoulder, and found a guy that aggressively works at the joint and muscles. These massages are painful, but there has been significant pain relief. I think you just have to keep researching and trying different therapists to see what works for you. I’m keeping up daily exercise for rom.

    1. afrozenshoulder Post author

      Yeah, I think my physio was a waste of time too….. would DEFINITELY go your route if I got it again, massage therapy, chiropractor too – but as you say, what may work for someone may not work for someone else – so if it doesn’t work after a couple of sessions of doing something, don’t be a sap like me and continue throwing money away and getting nowhere – quit what you’re doing and try something else….. you just never know what might work. Thanks for writing pollymcleod…. keep on with the massage therapy and I hope it helps you more and more every time….. thanks for writing!

  24. Debra

    What a lovely message to wake up to this morning 😀 Thank you. I feel so much stronger today just knowing I have support. This is truly the loneliest journey. Interesting fact my ortho asked if I had thyroid issues as it can be connected. I had my thyroid removed 16 years ago.

  25. Debra

    Hi, could anyone please relate their experience with hydrodilatation as I have been referred for this procedure and am feeling a bit anxious 😟 Guess fear of the Unknown 😏

    1. Silvia

      Hi Debra,

      After speaking with my physio therapist I too am considering the procedure. I usually seek a second and third opinion, and I was also referred for the OAT procedure (Trigenics doc), and the third person said to just wait it out. Alas, I don’t know which way to go in my case. Though, the hydrodilatation seems most palatable for me.

      I asked Hyla above about her experience, and this is what she replied:

      “Hi Sylvia. I wish I could say I’m totally healed but I can say I’m much, much better. I did NOT do trigenics as I thought it was a huge scam when I went for a consult. What did help the most was the hydro dilation. The whole procedure took 30 seconds and it was virtually painless (the area was frozen).
      When the freezing wore off I was sore but not much more than I was with the frozen shoulder. After a few days I had much more movement.
      I had a cortisone shot not long after and I couldn’t believe the change. With that and Physio I practically have full mobility. There is still some pain when I raise it a certain way but not comparable at all to the pain I had during the freezing/frozen stage. That was pretty brutal.
      I recommend the procedure for sure. I had it done by a radiologist as he had to do it by X-Ray to ensure he was injecting the saline into the right place.

      Wishing you all the best. I hope you find relief faster rather than slower.”

      1. debra patrick

        Hi Sylvia, when spires called to book app for 22/7 I said I was a little freaked out at thought of procedure as not too keen on needles but cannot deal with pain at the moment. A radiographer came on the line to advise re full procedure so hopefully this will help you make your decision too ? First they will inject you with local anaesthetic which is pretty much same as dentist injection and then you should not feel anymore pain. If you do they will add more local anaesthetic so pretty straightforward by the sounds of things. I will post after to let you know xxx

        Sent from my iPad

  26. Silvia

    Best of luck Debra! Hope that the procedure is wildly successful!

    Looking forward to hearing of your experience.

    1. Debra

      Hello there just back home from hydrodilatation and honestly not painful at all. At worst weird 😳 He heard a pop but I didn’t 😏 Most discomfort was having to hold my arm down on bed next to my body, Palm up and weighted down. Please I do understand everyone is different but I am such a baby with needles and it was fine. Fingers crossed for positive results but either way so pleased I have tried this procedure xx

  27. jo

    Having been through this twice now, I’m so pleased for you that you are better….it is so debilitating and unless you’ve been through it most people think you are exaggerating at best. I found the first time round my physio was a trained acupuncturist and within 6 sessions I was significantly better. This time round my GP won’t recommend it, only naproxen (which makes my stomach hurt) and physio exercises…which don’t work and are extremely painful. Will simply wait till it gets better…am 7 months in and in the frozen stage.

    1. afrozenshoulder Post author

      I don’t understand, why doesn’t your GP recommend it this time around? It worked well the first time – you responded well to it – so why not?? sigh….. doctors make no sense to me sometimes! So sorry to hear you’re going through it again Jo…… and I think maybe, just maybe (and I’m not proud of myself for thinking like this) if someone told me they were in agony from their shoulder, that they couldn’t move it, but it wasn’t broken or anything, they hadn’t sprained or dislocated it, that it was just agony from no reason at all, maybe I wouldn’t believe them – I’d think they were a big sissy, most likely…. it’s only from going through it that I can think wow, it really IS agony….. and that’s why I think only those going through it, or those who have gone through it, can understand and appreciate it….. all of us reading this blog and comments know your pain and truly sympathize and empathize and wish you a speedy recovery…

  28. Deborah

    Thank you for sharing your story!! I’m so glad to hear you have recovered. You have given me hope and I have marked my calendar for one year!!

  29. fivebeansfood

    Wow, amazing to hear of other people experiencing such similar things (mine is in my right shoulder) – the sleep, the intense pain at times, the ongoing pain, the limited movement and how that impacts your life, the unwanted side effects of medications. Thanks for sharing your story, it’s reassuring to know there are others with similar experiences and to hear they do eventually recover.

  30. Lisa M

    Thank you for writing this. I thought I was only one experiencing these symptoms in this way. Especially the feeling of slipping out of socket. Mine started in May 2016. I am going into my 6th month. The pain is less but I still have that sharp pain when arm is hit. I do. It sleep more than 90 min at a time. I have to sleep sitting up.

    Your story give me hope that this will pass with exercise and time. I have no money for PT.

    Thank you for sharing

  31. Traci

    It truly is one of those conditions that you can only relate to if you’ve actually gone through it and I would not wish this on my worst enemy. I have gone both routes. I have some bad news and that is if you have had frozen shoulder in one shoulder chances are within 5 years you will get it in the other shoulder. I had it in my right shoulder first – Spent way to much money on PT which only aggravated it. Had a cortisone injection which did nothing. Ortho said must do surgery and I did and the PT had to start up all over again but eventually I did heal. Exactly 5 years later I got it in my left shoulder and told myself no surgery this time. I approached it holistically. Took lots of Turmerric for pain and Magnesium with Vitamin B for nerves. Hyauluronic Acid is another supplement that I think really helps. I did a few acupuncture treatments in the very beginning and she did some cupping which I believe really helped. I bought a self massager called a Body Back Buddy on Amazon and a book on Trigger point Therapy and started doing this to myself and that is when I started seeing the most relief. I believe this condition is viral. I think it’s some type of auto immune response happening in the nerves around your shoulder and the only thing that truly heals it is time. My left shoulder is about 95% better and I would say for me it took about 16 months to get there. I read an article that some people say Frozen Shoulder is actually the shingles virus but instead of the painful blisters and rash manifesting on the outside of your body it manifests on the inside but it is a virus and in time it will leave as mysteriously as how it arrived. Best of luck to all of you. I completely relate to what your going through!

    1. afrozenshoulder Post author

      So sorry to hear what you’ve been through but wow, your comments are so interesting – and so full of helpful tips – I’m sure the readers will TRULY appreciate the time you’ve taken to write this all this down. I haven’t heard of it being part of the shingles virus – but I had chicken pox badly when I was a child, and I believe if you’ve had chicken pox, (at least according to the commercial on TV), you have the shingles virus IN you – so who knows – you might have hit something there. Turmeric is excellent for inflamation problems, as is ginger – the books you got too are very interesting, I’m going to look into those. I hope I don’t have it in my other shoulder – I”m just determined if I get even a twinge of pain I’ll keep on moving and swinging my arms regularly and try to work through it….. so glad you are doing so well – I’m intrigued by what you wrote – thank you for your comment Tracy and if you hear of anything else, please do let me know and I will post it here. People are suffering horribly and it’s great to put other ideas down here…. thanks again

  32. SMCblogging

    You’re wonderful to share your experience in such a thorough and detailed way. Thank you. I’m in month 8. Solidly in the frozen stage. Praying your THREE-SIX-THREE musing is correct. This disorder is one of the most frustrating experiences I’ve ever had, and there is just so little known about it. Your piece is being shared and very much appreciated in the Frozen Shoulder Facebook group. Thousands in that group are simply eager for optimism. Hope you’re not one of the people who is unlucky enough to get it in the other shoulder!

  33. Suez

    Thank you for all sharing your experiences. Traci what you said about shingles is very interesting. I started to get a lot of pain in my left shoulder about 7 months ago. Then I developed shingles across the left side of my chest. It was horrible and lasted for 3 months. Then a month later I got a frozen left shoulder and now about 6 weeks ago I have a frozen right shoulder. I also have fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome. Life is pretty hard at the moment! It’s hard to believe how much pain I have been through and I’m still in. I am just taking it one day at a time. All the best to everyone for healing and happiness.

  34. Rona Namer

    Thank you for sharing… I actually cried while reading (at 4:30 am as I cannot sleep), thinking I am not alone. I am at the beginning of FS. I know exactly how I hurt myself back in November (picking up a heavy bag from behind my seat in the car). Figured it will pass… I guess it didn’t and it turned into FS. Went to the OS, got the Xray done, the cortisone shot (which made it worth I think) and was advised to go to physical therapy. I went to a chiropractor who also does acupuncture and massage therapy and he gave me exercises which I do. But the pain can be unbearable. So I have someone come to my house and help me cope with it all: TENS therapy, aromatherapy, cupping, all gentle approach… and I pray it will be gone soon.
    I used to do Zumba… gone. I tried running, but the shock in shoulder made it worth… so I walk, when I can. The hardest part is the lack if sleep… feeling drained and moody (in adition to PS I am pre-menopausal). I will try to stay hopeful and read this blog! And I will try Dr. Arnold for sure!

  35. Lee

    I’m a 37-year-old man without diabetes. So, I don’t have any of the more common demographics of frozen shoulder. But about 4 months ago, in the middle of the night I tripped going down the steps and injured my shoulder. I seem to have an unusual case in that my ROM is significantly restricted in all directions (like everyone else here) but I have very little pain. Don’t get me wrong. I get very intense pain if I accidentally move my arm further than it wants to go but I don’t have any pain at rest. At night, it takes me a few min to get into a comfortable position but then I fall asleep fine. I saw two orthopaedists who both said it’s definitely FS. My ROM is reduced to the about 100 degrees. I can raise my arm slightly above my shoulder. It’s significantly reduced in all other movements too but I don’t know how to describe it in degrees. I’m still losing ROM but I’m not experiencing any shoulder pain other than when I accidentally move my arm too far. My biggest worry is whether I’m going have the kind of chronic, disabling pain that people here are describing. It’s terrifying to think about that. (And I’m so sorry for what you guys have gone through.) My orthopaedist thinks that if I don’t have much pain by the 4-month point, it probably won’t become severe pain. But I don’t even know if he’s right or if he just doesn’t want me to worry. I guess only time will tell.

  36. Dave

    All i can say is thank you for your insight.. i am at the no sleep mentally exhausted stage and reading your post has given me hope and to hang in there. Best of luck

  37. Karen F.

    I am 60 years old now, but had a left frozen shoulder in 2010-11. And yes, it took a year to get back to normal use of my arm. Totally frustrating, painful and I had decided to go back to college for occupational therapy. Only finished one semester as I couldn’t continue with my arm pain(learning how to move patients correctly etc – not an option with frozen shoulder). I took double dosages of naproxen twice a day per doctor’s orders. Did not do PT, had one cortisone shot in those first 3 months. I know it was aggravated by my lifting/moving boxes during my move to school. And then, all of sudden, after those 9 months, it slowly came back around and became normal again. I am beginning a swimming routine and am thinking I shouldn’t do the full arm crawl stroke (over the head) nor the back stroke with arms over the head. It scares me to think I may injure my other arm and endure a frozen shoulder again. It’s such a debilitating situation that I do not wish on anyone!

  38. Keta Patel

    Hi, I am a chiropractor in Baton Rouge, LA. I wanted to suggest a technique called Active Release techniques. I loved hearing about Dr. Arnold as it is what I truly believe in also and I believe in the importance of spending time with each of my patients to truly help and understand their injury. I wish all of you good luck and hope for the best. Your blog also helped me find out about other methods offered for frozen shoulders that I would like to perhaps learn to better serve my patients. Thank you!!

  39. Sal

    I wish my should pain would go away. I have almost 100% ROM but my left shoulder still hurts depends on how I move it. I have a hard time raising my arm quickly to catch anything. It has been almost 2 years.

  40. todd

    I am 48 yr old male and injured my rotator cuff in july 2016 after months of therapy and injections I went to surgery this past feb.. After the immobilization time my shoulder joint became severly painfull and would not move at the joint at all. I had my therapist telling me that if I didn’t move it would freeze and I said IT IS STUCK AND WONT MOVE. I was frustrated she was not listening and I was hurting myself trying exercise. I went to the OS and he said take a steroid pack and keep trying. Still no movement and pain is grueling and forget about sleep. I have been out of work for two months and I am afraid I am going to loose my job. I am the primary provider for my wife and child and feel hopeless and scared. My PT says YOU DONT WANT MANIPULATION!!! I just don’t know what to do my boss doesn’t understand and is getting impatient. Should I just do mild exercise for the muscles and see if it will take its course or have surgery. Lost in pain

    1. Julia

      Hello Todd, I just read your post and I can tell you that manual therapy with a physiotherapist who is trained can do this for you. It is not like the traditional physio because they help you to regain your ROM and eventually, muscle strength. There is no one solution for everyone but invasive procedures make no sense to me. I have FS in both shoulders now but it started in 2013. In Canada the physiotherapist gets a CAMPT designation. Find one in your area and try it. It takes time for FS to resolve depending on what caused it, (there are many potential causes for FS),. Good luck.

      1. todd

        Hello Julia. Do I understand correctly that you have two frozen shoulders right now? How do you manage daily activities? Do you drive and work? My doctor calls mine Postoperative Adhesive Capulitus but I don’t understand why the other would be doing the same. I am in physical therapy now but it is for my rotator cuff repair and my pt seems to be just keeping with that protocol and not dealing with the problem at hand. I feel she has become distant to my needs since things went south with my rehab. I feel like I need a different pt but I don’t know how to get workers comp to comply. I hope things are getting better for you. I cannot imagine being in pain that long. I hope you have lots of love and support from family and friends.

    2. SMCblogging

      Todd, I’m so sorry. The inflammatory (a.k.a. “freezing”) stage of FS is so incredibly painful, basically all the time. My one caution to you would be: Even if you find a physical therapist who is knowledgeable about FS, you don’t ever want to push the joint to the point of pain during those treatment sessions. It may prolong the inflammation stage, which will prolong the condition. Listen to what your body is telling you. If it hurts, back off. The shoulder will inevitably move out of the inflammation stage into Stage 2 (a.k.a. “frozen”), and that’s where you can push farther with the sessions to increase ROM. Many people also find great relief with an ultrasound-guided cortisone injection during the inflammation stage. Anything to reduce the inflammation will, in theory, help with the pain and ROM. Manipulation under anesthesia comes with risks, as does keyhole release surgery, so you really want to consider those carefully, and there are no guarantees of success with either. This is a very frustrating condition, for sure. Hoping you find pain relief!

    3. Liberty

      I have also had my fracture clinic, pt, doctor say some incredibly humiliating and misunderstanding things. Incredible to know there are people out there in a professional capacity that just don’t care.

  41. todd

    Thank you for your responses. I am hoping that when I go back to the OS in two weeks he will have positive information for me. I have trouble with pain and cant take certain meds because I had blood clots and they have me on a powerful blood thinner. I use Tylenol when it gets really bad. I am getting scared the past few days my other shoulder is getting really stiff and I get jolts of pain when I move it in certain positions. Is this possible can my body be doing this to both arms. I need to go back to work I am so worried about my job. I have to commute 80 miles to work and when I tried to drive around the block the other day it was horrible. I started thinking that if it is just my right arm I could get through it but now I am starting to get worried. has anyone had it in two arms at the same time?

  42. todd

    Well I had a manipulation last Monday. Had good motion for the first three days and its slowly decreasing and the pain level is twice what I had before the manipulation. I am going to request an MRI something is just not right. when I get above shoulder height the pain likes to make me black out. Before the manipulation I only had pain in forced movement now I have severe pain all the time. I feel like im going to be this way for good.

  43. Lisa

    Thank you so much for this information. I felt like I wrote it myself, every single thing I have gone through. I felt so alone like I was the only one going through this unknown. I am also going through menopause on top of it, so this to say the least has been pure hell. Curious if you have ever found any information that show hormones may play a part in this. I am so hopeful that there is an end and that I may get my life back. Thank you again for sharing and giving hope to apparently so many of us.

    1. afrozenshoulder Post author

      Hi there Lisa – glad you found this blog and hope now that your comment is posted, maybe someone will respond about the hormonal aspect? If anyone has any information, feel free to reply to Lisa right here, or else you can email me and I can pass that on to her (if you don’t want to post a public response).
      Feel better soon!

  44. Eileen (south Florida)

    Thank you all for posting. Your comments have provided support for me as I have never ever had any type of physical ailment. This has really been a struggle, particularly with the lack of sleep and inability to do the most basic things. Depressing! I am about 4 1/2 months into this and have just seen an orthopedic and I have started physical therapy. The diagnosis is frozen shoulder! I guess it’s a good thing I have been doing a little bit of exercise in the past few months although I wonder if I have been aggravating it more than helping. I continue to work on remaining positive and taking care of myself. Everyone’s comments have been very helpful, thank you and I wish all of you a speedy recovery. Eileen B. Ft. Lauderdale

  45. Diane

    I developed frozen shoulder in late April of this year at age 53. The freezing stage consisted of the typical agony described in this blog. At my wits end in early July, I tried a radical change in diet: no sugar, no grains, no legumes, and no nightshades. Within 4 days, my shoulder pain was gone, and within 2 weeks, I had a 50% increase in range of motion. It has now been 5 weeks since I started the diet and 3.5 months since the onset of symptoms, and I am 100% pain free since day 4 of the diet and have regained most of my range of motion. I am convinced that an underlying metabolic disturbance caused my frozen shoulder and that something about the diet eliminated the joint capsule inflammation and allowed my body to start healing. Was it elimination of nightshades (tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant, and peppers)? Was it elimination of sugar and grains? It was most likely not due to an eliminations of legumes because I rarely eat legumes. There is an interesting article that links frozen shoulder to the accumulation of advanced glycation end products in the shoulder joint capsule ( Maybe the extreme reduction in dietary sugar/carbs reversed this abnormal process. Who knows. What I do know is that I had a very atypical and rapid reversal of symptoms. The only other people I have found online whose condition improved rapidly were those who did elimination diets.

    1. Ainslie Roberts

      Thanks Diane for your post.
      I found it very interesting that your diet change helped your frozen shoulder. Just wondering what your diet consisted of after you cut out the above mentioned items.
      I have been suffering from a frozen shoulder for 4 months.
      Thanks you.

      1. afrozenshoulder Post author

        Hi, Diane will I’m sure respond, but I’d just like to jump in here and say I was so intrigued by the book, The Plant Paradox, by Steven Gundry, that I bought the .pdf version (it was cheaper and I thought if it was rubbish, I wouldn’t have wasted a lot of money.). I could NOT put it down, was fascinated by the premise behind it, and bought the hard copy too so I can highlight parts and take notes. I don’t have a frozen shoulder any more, but I am unhappy and feel unhealthy in general, and truly believe that he has the key to better health (for MYSELF… I’m not saying everyone will feel the same way), so I start this in two weeks. Diane seems to have done so well on this, and thanks to her, I feel some hope about becoming a healthier person through this….. It addresses many of the key things I thought I was doing RIGHT with my diet, and it turns out I was causing inflammation by just eating the wrong “healthy” things. So I am hopeful I will feel better within a few months and get rid of the aches and pains and general malaise that I feel. Thanks again Diane for mentioning it. I am not telling people to buy it or follow it, only that I personally think he makes a lot of good points and I want to give it a shot! A really good shot! 🙂

      2. Diane

        Hi Ainslie,

        For the first 3 days, I ate only the following:
        Morning smoothie consisting of romaine lettuce, spinach, lemon juice, avocado, fresh mint.
        Snack: walnuts or macadamia nuts
        Lunch: salad with 2 ounces of wild caught fish, spinach leaves, romaine lettuce, homemade salad dressing (olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic, fresh herbs, lemon juice)
        Dinner: cruciferous vegetables with 2 ounces wild caught fish or pastured chicken

        For days 4 through present, I have added resistant starches such as sweet potatoes and millet.

        I lost 4 pounds (mostly water weight), and by the end of day 4 and have lost 16 pounds since July 10th.

        After doing extensive research of the peer-reviewed medical literature and my own medical records, here is my best guess as to why I eliminated the shoulder inflammation after 4 days on the diet:

        About a month after I first noticed pain from my frozen shoulder, my neutrophils (a type of white blood cell) were elevated and my overall white blood cell count was on the high end of normal. It has historically been on the low end of normal (dozens of CBCs over the past 10 years). Calorie restriction is known to reduce white blood cell count. I think it is possible that the significant calorie restriction eliminated the inflammation by reducing the white blood cell count.

        I also read a lot about Steven Gundry’s lectin theory and about lectins in general (based on extensive work done by lectinologists in the field), and I concluded that Gundry’s theory has lots of holes in it and his book is riddled with errors.

        Even so, following Gundry’s diet plan has resulted in a tremendous improvement in my health and well-being. I don’t think it has anything to do with lectin avoidance. I think it has everything to do with calorie restriction.

        I have residual symptoms consistent with a torn labrum. I think what happened was that I must have torn my labrum earlier this year, which set off a mega inflammatory response by my body, which resulted in the frozen shoulder secondary to the injury. The calorie restriction put out the inflammatory fire, and I am now left with a weird clunky feeling inside my shoulder (most likely due to a torn labrum) but little to no pain or discomfort. Range of motion is over 90%, which is good enough for me.

  46. Josh

    I found your blog very interesting. I have been living with a torn labrum for 9 years, having never had surgery. About 8 months ago, I was having some breathing issues while sleeping, so I began forcing myself to sleep on my side vs. my back. As a lifetime back sleeper, this was difficult, but I soon adjusted, spending about 3/4 of the time on my right side, and 1/4 on the left.

    Well, after a couple months of this, I began having pain in my left shoulder. I figured I had aggravated my labral tear by sleeping on that shoulder, so I took it easy with that arm for 3 months. Some of the pain decreased over that time, but my range of motion began decreasing. I went back to the orthopedic surgeon who had originally diagnosed the labral tear. He immediately diagnosed frozen shoulder, and insisted that it was definitely not related to either the tear or to sleeping on my side. He still insists that’s the case. I’m positive it’s from the side-sleeping.

    I’ve been going to physical therapy for 2 months now, and I am also of the strong opinion that it has been useless. Oddly, the orthopedist twice suggested a cortisone shot, which I declined. On my third visit, after researching it, I asked for the shot. His attitude changed dramatically, and he said that he no longer recommended it since I was “making progress” with PT. In fact, I had told him that I felt I had only a few degrees more movement, and didn’t think I was making any real progress at all.

    I have enough of my range of motion that I can deal with daily tasks, but reaching behind me (to grab my wallet, tuck in my shirt, or fasten my belt) is next to impossible, as is taking off my shirt or a jacket, or reaching overhead. I have random rest pain that can be severe, nighttime pain that seldom interrupts my sleep, and if I roll onto my left side or bump that shoulder, it’s excruciating. Yawning is also an exercise in intense pain.

    My next step is to try another orthopedic surgeon, just for a second opinion and a cortisone shot, and will most likely abandon the PT to let this resolve on its own.

  47. Ainslie Roberts

    Hi Diane,
    Thank you so much for your update.
    Yesterday, I went out and bought The Plant Paradox, by Steven Gundry. I have only read 60 pages of his book and feel a little intimidated. It is a lot of information all at once. I don’t know enough about diet and nutrition to spot any errors, but I guess I will read the rest of the book with a grain of salt so to speak.
    I will try the diet you suggest and see how it goes, and keep in mind ‘calorie reduction’.
    Thank you.


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