What Are the Causes of Frozen Shoulder?


Frozen shoulder, also known as adhesive capsulitis, is a condition in which the range of motion in your shoulder joint gradually decreases. The condition will start out slowly and increase over time. Frozen shoulder could last for a couple of years and can alter your way of life with its symptoms.

Injuries and Conditions

Sometimes shoulder trauma, such as a rotator cuff injury, is the cause of a frozen shoulder. It would be wise to have a doctor check for shoulder problems after an injury, to diagnose and ensure proper treatment. Medical conditions that can cause a frozen shoulder include tendinitis and bursitis.


Any surgery on the chest or breast areas provides a patient with a potential risk for a frozen shoulder. This condition occurs because the shoulder cannot be moved, either because of a cast, sling or temporary pain. Because the shoulder is immobilized, the joint is not being used and becomes stiff. Any surgery on the shoulder area also can cause a shoulder to become frozen.


Some diseases and conditions increase the risk of a frozen shoulder. Individuals with diabetes or other endocrine disorders, chronic inflammatory arthritis, Parkinson's disease or heart disease may will develop frozen shoulder. To decrease the risk of a frozen shoulder, any shoulder problems should be closely monitored. See your doctor if a shoulder suddenly causes discomfort.

Physical Characteristics

Both age and gender can affect an individual's chance of frozen shoulder. A frozen shoulder will occur more often in women than men. People who are middle-aged, 40 to 60 years old, are the most commonly affected. Individuals who have had a relative suffer from a frozen shoulder could develop one as well, since there may be a genetic link.

Lack of Use

If a shoulder feels stiff or uncomfortable, making you reluctant to move it, it becomes stiffer. The capsule of connective tissue becomes thick around the joint, resulting in frozen shoulder. The capsule could also become inflamed. To deal with the pain of a frozen shoulder, anti-inflammatory medications.

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