A frozen shoulder, or “adhesive capsulitis,” is a condition that affects your shoulder joint. This isn’t just a minor ache or stiffness; we’re talking about significant loss of range of motion and sometimes pretty intense pain.

It can be so bad that doing simple tasks like putting on a jacket or reaching for a cup in the cupboard becomes an Olympic feat.

In this post you will discover what causes a shoulder to freeze up, the non-surgical treatments, the 3 mains types of frozen shoulder surgery, and their risks and recovery process.

Key Takeaways

1. Frozen shoulder is a painful condition that makes it hard to move your shoulder.

2. Non-surgical treatments, such as physical therapy and pain management, are usually tried first.

3. If these treatments don’t work, frozen shoulder surgery may be an option.

4. There are three main types of frozen shoulder surgery:
1) Manipulation Under Anaesthesia (“MUA”)
2) Arthroscopic Capsular Release
3) Open Surgery

5. The type of frozen shoulder surgery recommended will depend on the severity of the condition and the patient’s overall health.

6. Recovery from surgery typically takes several months, but most patients regain full range of motion and function in their shoulder.

Causes Requiring Frozen Shoulder Surgery

You might be asking, “Why does frozen shoulder happen?” Well, the exact cause can be a bit of a mystery. For some, it could be following a period of immobility due to an injury or surgery. For others, it might just pop up out of the blue. Life’s weird like that sometimes.

Now, onto the warning signs. Initially, you might just feel a bit stiff, or notice some mild discomfort when moving your arm. But as time progresses, you could be looking at increased pain, especially at night, and a significant reduction in your ability to move that shoulder.

But it’s not all doom and gloom. The good news is that with the right diagnosis and treatment, you can break free from the icy grip of a frozen shoulder.

Yes, it’s gonna take time and effort, but understanding what you’re up against is the first step to getting better.

Diagnosis Process

So, you’ve started to notice that reaching for stuff isn’t as easy as it used to be, or maybe you’re waking up in the middle of the night with shoulder pain.

Your first move? Get that shoulder checked out.

Trust me, you don’t want to self-diagnose when it comes to something as complex as a joint!

Step one in this journey is usually a good ol’ physical examination. Your healthcare provider will ask you to move your arm in various directions to check your range of motion and identify any discomfort zones.

Yes, I know, it might hurt a bit, but it’s super necessary.

To rule out other issues or to get a clearer look at what’s going on inside, your doc might suggest some imaging tests. We’re talking X-rays, MRIs, and maybe even an ultrasound.

These tests help your healthcare provider see the shoulder joint and surrounding tissues, making it easier to confirm a diagnosis of frozen shoulder.

Getting diagnosed early can make a huge difference in how long it takes you to recover. It also guides your treatment plan, helping you decide whether you can manage with non-surgical options or if you’ll eventually need surgery.


There’s the rundown on how frozen shoulder gets diagnosed. And remember, the sooner you get diagnosed, the sooner you can start treatment and kick this frozen shoulder to the curb.

Now that we’ve tackled what frozen shoulder is and how it’s diagnosed, let’s dive into the non-surgical treatment options. Because surgery is a big deal, and it’s not always the first line of defence.

Non-Surgical Treatment Options

So you’ve been diagnosed with a frozen shoulder. But don’t worry; surgery isn’t the only way out of this icy situation. There are several non-surgical routes you can take to regain your shoulder’s freedom.

First off, let’s talk about physical therapy.

You might be thinking, “Exercise? Really? When it hurts to even move?”

Yes. A skilled physical therapist can guide you through specific stretches and exercises aimed at increasing your shoulder’s range of motion. Sure, it might be tough at first, but gradually, you’ll start to feel the benefits.

Next up: pain management. Nobody likes being in pain, and luckily, there are some options to keep the agony at bay.

Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory meds like ibuprofen can help, or you might get prescribed stronger stuff like corticosteroid injections. These bad boys can reduce inflammation right at the source, offering you some much-needed relief.

Or you may prefer my special all-plant formulation RK XERO which acts quicker, is equally if not more effective, and comes with no side-effects.

Applying heat can help loosen the shoulder up a bit before you start your stretching, while a cold pack afterward can minimize any inflammation caused by your newly active lifestyle.

So there you have it. Non-surgical treatments are all about gradually increasing your range of motion while keeping pain to a minimum. It’s like training for a marathon; slow and steady wins the race.

When is Frozen Shoulder Surgery Needed?

Alright, we’ve reached that pivotal moment in our frozen shoulder journey where we talk about surgery. But let’s drop the stigma; sometimes, surgery is the turn-around your shoulder needs.

It’s not an admission of defeat; it’s a strategic move to reclaim your mobility and quality of life.

Frozen Shoulder Surgery

So, when does one typically end up in the operating room for frozen shoulder surgery? Well, first off, you’ve got to give other treatments a fair shake.

If you’ve been on the physical therapy grind for six months or more and haven’t noticed significant improvements, your healthcare provider might start discussing surgical options with you.

Then there’s the pain factor. You know, the kind of discomfort that not only ruins your sleep but also turns everyday tasks into Herculean challenges.

We’re talking about needing help to put on clothes, not being able to reach for objects on higher shelves, or even difficulty driving. If pain medications and injections aren’t cutting it anymore, frozen shoulder surgery starts looking more and more like the right choice.

And let’s talk about your quality of life. If you’re avoiding activities you love—be it painting, swimming, or even giving someone a high-five—because your shoulder just won’t cooperate, that’s a huge red flag.

Your mental well-being is just as important as your physical health, and living with a constant limitation can take a toll on your happiness and emotional state.

What’s cool (or not so cool, depending on how you look at it) is that there’s no one-size-fits-all answer. Some folks might opt for surgery after just a few months of struggle, while others might wait it out for a year or more.

Your healthcare provider will weigh factors like your age, overall health, and how severely your daily life is affected before giving frozen shoulder surgery the green light.

So there you have it—a more detailed look into when surgery becomes the go-to option for treating a frozen shoulder.

If you’re ticking off these boxes, then it’s probably time to have a candid conversation with your healthcare provider about frozen shoulder surgery options.

Frozen Shoulder Surgery: The 3 Types

If you’re at the point where frozen shoulder surgery is your best option, don’t worry! It’s not a sign that you’re down for the count; it’s just a pathway to a more mobile and happier you.

Now, you’ve got choices when it comes to types of surgeries for frozen shoulders, and each comes with its own set of pros and cons.

1. Manipulation Under Anaesthesia or MUA

Manipulation Under Anaesthesia” or MUA, sounds more like a wrestling move than a medical procedure. With MUA, you’re fast asleep under anesthesia while the surgeon manually moves your arm and shoulder to break up those stubborn adhesions.

The aim here is to give your shoulder a kickstart in mobility. Think of it as a hard reboot for your joint.

Since there are no incisions, recovery is generally quicker, but there’s a catch—this method can be a bit painful post-procedure.

Plus, there’s a chance those adhesions might make a comeback, meaning you might need additional treatment down the line.

2. Arthroscopic Capsular Release

This is the tech-savvy cousin in the frozen shoulder surgery family. It’s minimally invasive, meaning smaller scars and usually a quicker return to normal activities.

The surgeon makes tiny incisions and inserts a camera to guide them as they slice through the tight capsule surrounding the joint.

This surgery is often recommended for those who have less severe stiffness or for people who can’t risk a more extensive procedure due to other health conditions.

3. Open Surgery

This one’s the heavy hitter, usually reserved for the most severe or complicated cases.

It involves a larger incision, which allows the surgeon more room to work and make extensive corrections to your shoulder’s anatomy.

While the surgery itself might be more comprehensive, the trade-off is a longer and more involved recovery period. You’ll probably spend more time in physical therapy and may need stronger pain meds initially.

Remember, choosing a surgical method isn’t like picking a new Netflix series to binge-watch; it’s a decision that you’ll want to make with your healthcare provider, considering factors like your overall health, the severity of your condition, and how it’s affecting your day-to-day life.

So, now you know; you’ve got options. Surgical options, that is. And each comes with its own set of ‘what-ifs’ and ‘how-longs’ that you’ll want to discuss in-depth with your healthcare team.

Frozen Shoulder Surgery: Risks and Recovery

So, you’ve made it through frozen shoulder surgery, and you’re waking up on the other side with a sense of relief and maybe a tinge of nervousness. First off, give yourself a mental high-five because taking the surgical route is a big decision.

But before you start planning your triumphant return to all your favorite activities, let’s pause and chat about what’s next on the agenda: understanding the risks involved and what the recovery journey looks like.

When it comes to risks, there’s no sugarcoating it—every frozen shoulder surgery carries some degree of uncertainty and potential complications.

Infections are the pesky troublemakers you’ll want to be particularly vigilant about. The last thing you need post-op is an infection throwing a wrench into your recovery.

And while it’s not super common, there’s also a possibility of bleeding or even nerve damage. These risks may sound alarming, but they’re generally rare, and your healthcare team will arm you with a ton of information so you can spot any warning signs early on. Plus, medical professionals will often prescribe antibiotics and give you detailed care instructions to mitigate these risks.

Now, let’s shift gears and talk about what’s undoubtedly on your mind: the recovery process from frozen shoulder surgery. You’ll want to get back to your normal life as quickly as possible, but recovery isn’t a sprint; it’s more like a marathon where pacing is key.

Physical therapy is your new best friend, and you’re likely to start these sessions within the first week following your surgery. Initially, the focus will be on managing your pain levels and reintroducing simple movements to your shoulder.

But as you progress, the exercises will become more complex and demanding, designed to help you regain full function of your shoulder joint.

Pain management is another big chapter in this recovery book. Look, it’s going to be uncomfortable—there’s no two ways about it. But that’s what pain medications are for.

Your healthcare provider will prescribe you something to keep the pain in check, so don’t be a stoic hero trying to tough it out. Proper pain management is critical not just for your comfort but also for your overall healing process.

Pain management include the usual pain-killing drugs. You may also prefer to use an all-natural pain reliever in the form of RK XERO.

Let’s be real; the timeline for full recovery is not set in stone. It varies from person to person and largely depends on several factors like the type of surgery you had, how well you adhere to your physical therapy schedule, and even your general state of health before the surgery.

It could take anywhere from a couple of months to almost a year to get back to feeling like your old self. But hey, Rome wasn’t built in a day, right? A consistent approach to your physical therapy exercises and a positive mindset can go a long way in speeding up your recovery.

So there you have it—an expanded and in-depth look at the risks and recovery aspects you can expect after frozen shoulder surgery.

With this knowledge in hand, you’ll be better equipped to navigate the post-op landscape and work your way back to a more mobile, less painful life.

Frozen Shoulder Surgery: In Summary

There’s no denying that a frozen shoulder can really put a damper on your day-to-day life. It’s like that uninvited party guest who overstays their welcome—you just want it to leave. But the good news is, when conservative treatments aren’t cutting it, surgery offers another avenue for relief.

I’ve walked you through the types of surgeries that are available—from the less invasive Manipulation Under Anesthesia to the more comprehensive open surgery. I’ve also talked about the risks and recovery aspects, which let’s face it, are just as important as the surgery itself.

The road to recovery might be long and peppered with challenges, but hey, every journey begins with a single step, right?

At the end of the day, the decision to undergo frozen shoulder surgery shouldn’t be taken lightly. It’s essential to have a thorough and open conversation with your healthcare provider to decide the best route for you. Your shoulder didn’t freeze overnight, and likewise, unfreezing it will take time, effort, and maybe even a surgical intervention.

And remember, whether it’s deciding the type of frozen shoulder surgery or embarking on the road to recovery, you’re not alone. Your healthcare team will be with you every step of the way, guiding you toward a future where the phrase “frozen shoulder” is nothing but a distant memory.

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