How to Recover From A Frozen Shoulder

The pain is excruciating. I don’t know how to write this post without sounding like a baby whining about it, but it’s true.

I’m being dead honest. I’ve never experienced pain like this.

I hurt my shoulder, but I didn’t just hurt it. My shoulder is frozen and I had no clue on how to recover from it.

I can’t move my right arm. From the tip of my shoulder bone down to the inside and outside elbow and right down to my fingers — my arm is dead weight and in so much pain.

Thank goodness for speech to text or I’d never been able to write this post. I’m in tears most days and to be honest, I haven’t slept right in almost a month.

What is Frozen Shoulder?

Frozen shoulder happens when you stop moving the joints after you sustain a shoulder injury. I tore my right rotator cuff, and because it hurt so much, I didn’t realize it wasn’t a good idea not to move it.

You have to keep moving the joint with full range motion, but because I was in so much pain, I stopped. Little did I know that just made things worse.

Frozen shoulder occurs:

  • After surgery or injury
  • To people between the ages of 40 and 70
  • Happens more in women than men, especially those premenopausal.
  • Most often to people who suffer from chronic diseases such as diabetes or stroke.

I went to see a specialist and he requested an MRI which should have been done the minute I stepped into emergency after injuring myself but wasn’t.

In the meantime, I’m suffering. I feel like an invalid.

I can’t even pull my pants down to pee. Although hubby says this is the part we agreed on — for better or worse — sickness and health.

For the past week, he’s been helping me get dressed, curling my hair, and even painted my nails for me. Amazing, as I’m now the one-armed bandit.

How can you recover from a frozen shoulder?

That’s easy. Move it. I know right. Easier said than done. But that is the best way to recover. Simply moving your joints around so they don’t continue being stiff and all achy and stuff. There are also other things that can help.

  1. Physical Therapy – most common treatment with massage and muscle relaxation on a regular basis to manipulate the joints and help ease the tension built up.
  2. Medication – Can be used to help treat the pain such as Advil to reduce inflammation. Be careful when being prescribed narcotics for pain that you don’t get hooked on them. There are also many herbal remedies that can help.
  3. Home Care – Having someone aid you with dressing, eating or taking a shower can decrease the recovery time so you don’t overwork the joints or do something to re-injure yourself.
  4. Surgery – A final and last attempt to repair the damaged tissues and joints. Recovery time for this varies per individual.

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frozen shoulder recovery

No matter what your treatment for having a frozen shoulder, don’t expect to get better quickly. Healing can take up to two years depending on the severity of the injury and how badly you’ve hurt yourself.

Follow your doctor’s advice. Don’t be afraid to try new and out of the box healing methods. But keep moving that injured arm. If you don’t things will only get worse and your recovery time will last you all that much longer.

Trust me, I know.


  1. Dave E Wilkes June 4, 2013 at 4:50 am

    Well done FD fro stepping up to the plate!!

    You done good.

    Hi Jodi you should be well over the frozen arm thingy by now – but what an experience you had!

    I particularly enjoyed your:- I have an arm I need to use and arm that is for show! comment.

    It is funny but Oh so true. For so many of us.

    Thanks for the post. I enjoyed reading it

    1. Jodi Shaw - Site Author June 4, 2013 at 11:55 am

      Thanks Dave and yes I'm over it, but funny how you never fully recover from it. I've torn it three time, the first from the car accident and if I sleep hard or funny I wake up in extreme pain. It's true we take for granted silly things like our arms and legs.

  2. Glynda Lomax April 23, 2012 at 2:32 pm

    Jodi, I feel your pain (literally at the moment, I 'm afraid) but I just wanted to say that you are an extremely talented writer. I read very few blogs because I am usually busy writing myself. Yours are funny and informative at the same time. I found you Googling the mystery shoulder pain which I have been suffering with for weeks. I agree with the other readers, I would gladly give birth again to get rid of it, it is truly excruciating, and disabling. I am in big trouble if both my arms stop working, I don't have a husband 🙂

    God bless you – I hope you heal up fast, and I hope all the rest of us do too!!

  3. BOB August 30, 2011 at 9:58 am

    I was told by the dr. this pain and loss of movment was frozen sholder/ capsullitis left arm / 3 months ago now I am having some pains in my right arm . At this time it is not to the poient where I have limted movement my fear is that i will. I have a 3 yr daughter it is bad now she missig out on me tikeling her playing going places . I found this blog out of fear of not being able to wipe my on butt venting is what is most despertley needed for me . On that note thank you for being there for others Jodi

    1. Jodi Shaw - Site Author August 31, 2011 at 1:44 am

      You are very welcome. It can be a long recovery. I still suffer daily with pain but have more movement now. I remember feeling as though I would never be able to move my arm again. It's awful I know but hang in there and things will get better.

  4. Dallas June 10, 2011 at 4:53 am

    I totally feel for you. I've never had shoulder problems, but ruptured a disk in my back a couple years ago and it was awful. The non-sleep, constant pain, grumpiness, etc…I TOTALLY get you and feel for you. I hope you are able to get some relief soon.

    Great job helping out Forgetful Dad!

    Take care.

    1. Jodi Shaw - Site Author June 10, 2011 at 7:40 pm

      Oh Dallas a ruptured disk? I have heard how painful that is. Did you you finally get through it?

      Thanks for the well wishes.

  5. Cin June 6, 2011 at 6:18 am

    OMG~I felt this EXACT same way about 1 year ago. I pinched a nerve in my neck about 3 days after delivery of my baby girl. I would have given birth 100 times over vs. going through the pain in my arm & neck. I too, cried myself to sleep oh-so-many nights and could not get comfortable and I was DYING and SCREAMING inside. I wanted to breastfeed my babe so I couldn't take ANY pills for relief. I spoke to the doctor, friends, family, and they all thought I was just ADJUSTING to my new life as a mom. I KNEW SOMETHING WAS WRONG!!! At about day 5, my hand went numb and I knew that was not "adjusting". The doctor agreed to give me some pain medication at about 3 weeks after seeing my desperation. I was soooo frustrated. I saw a registered massage therapist which helped, but only time would heal. A year later, my hand is still numb but at least I can move my arm. Recommendations: keep moving that arm even if it is a little bit. Keeping it stiff is no good. I know~NOT what you want to hear. I promise you will get better, keep thinking positive thoughts and soon you will see progress~I promise!!!

    For me, still a mystery how it happened. I wouldn't wish this pain on anyone. Hmmm, maybe? No, that wouldn't be nice.

    1. Jodi Shaw - Site Author June 7, 2011 at 6:25 am

      Thanks so much Cin. Yes it's awful and yes the worst part is I am not totally sure how I did it. The pain is terrible. I'm sorry you had to go through it and right after having a baby, that would be enough to make anyone upset, and worst nobody listened to you! I'm trying to move it everyday and get back to who I was but yes it's hard. Moving it is important though

  6. Cathy June 4, 2011 at 12:42 am

    My heart goes out to you and your family. I hope that things heal and this will only be a memory, not a great one but a memory of the pain.
    I hurt my neck over 10 years ago and well still have the nerve pain from my nose to my toes…. not fun and the med's aren't great either. So I can relate to the child birth and beyond pain as I live it each and every day…. but on the up side…. I am still here and not ready to give in…
    I just found you and I think that I shall enjoy your rants and rascals episodes…. a big thank you from small town Ontario.

  7. Marilyn @ A Lot of L June 3, 2011 at 8:45 am

    I don't find Tylenol 3s do much for me. I use Ibruprofen. Have you tried cold ice gel? You get it at the pharmacy. Try to buy the best one you can get (ask the pharmacist or look at the % medicine). Take care of yourself!

    1. Jodi Shaw - Site Author June 4, 2011 at 3:03 pm

      I haven't tried that yet I will thanks so much I know you can buy heat wraps I have just been alternating heat and ice

  8. Alex Lepoidvin June 1, 2011 at 2:27 am

    Why can't you use your left hand to wipe your ass? I've had to do it after a motorcycle accident.. Show some respect for your hubby by not posting that you have him wiping your ass for you..

    1. Jodi Shaw - Site Author June 1, 2011 at 2:46 pm

      Hi Alex thanks for the comment but I am gathering you aren't a regular reader otherwise you'd note the sarcasm in my writing and know how much love and respect I do have for my husband. But thanks for stopping by and leaving your judgements have a nice day!

  9. RoryBore May 31, 2011 at 11:48 am

    You rock FD!! Kudos on top of kudos! And Jodi, you are a trooper for still continuing to try to post! I would have ditched everyone as soon as the T3's were in my palm. Ok, mostly because they knock me right out to wonky land, but also because blogging is supposed to be fun. If pain is involved, I'd stop.
    but then again, I am glad you are hanging tough because I'd just miss you guys too much! xo Get better soon!

    1. Jodi Shaw - Site Author June 1, 2011 at 2:48 pm

      Awww thanks Rory I appreciate it. Ya see t3s don't do anything for me wish they did lol but oh well things will get better soon. I have an appointment next week with specialist.

  10. pam lee-miller May 31, 2011 at 11:14 am

    it is hard to let others take care of us…but go easy and be gentle with yourself. blessings on your recovery.

    1. Jodi Shaw - Site Author June 1, 2011 at 2:48 pm

      Hi Pam oh thanks so much!

    1. Frozen Shoulder Essex NJ October 6, 2014 at 6:21 am

      If you think you have a frozen shoulder or are developing one, see your clinician or a shoulder expert for a physical exam. To assess your shoulder’s range of motion, the clinician will ask you to perform various movements with your arm, such as reaching across your chest to touch the opposite shoulder or down your back to touch the opposite shoulder blade.

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