Signs & Symptoms Orthopedics

Frozen Shoulder
Signs and Symptoms

Patients with frozen shoulder usually have increasing pain as their shoulder loses motion. The pain is often exacerbated by quick motions of the shoulder. The shoulder becomes more painful as the stiffness worsens, and it is difficult even for other people to move the shoulder. Frozen shoulder has been divided into three stages:

Stage 1: Freezing Stage: Characterized by a slow increase in pain, sometimes brought on by an apparently minor trauma. As the pain worsens, the shoulder loses motion.

Stage 2: Frozen Stage: The pain improves, but the stiffness remains.

Stage 3: Thawing Stage: Shoulder motion slowly returns to normal.

Stage 1 can last from 1 month to 9 months; stage 2 from 4 to 9 months, and stage 3 from 5 months to 2 years.

UCSF Health medical specialists have reviewed this information. It is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of your doctor or other health care provider. We encourage you to discuss any questions or concerns you may have with your provider.