20 Responses

  1. Jessica Apple
    Jessica Apple December 7, 2011 at 6:30 am | | Reply

    Great information. Thank you for posting. I first learned about frozen shoulder when Elizabeth Snouffer wrote about her case on Diabetes 24/7. It’s a very helpful post.

  2. David Wendel
    David Wendel December 7, 2011 at 6:33 am | | Reply

    Frozen shoulder is also very often the result of Hypothyroidism. If you have type 1 then the chances you get Hashimotos, Graves or hypothyroidism are greatly increased. The best way to find out is through a blood test to see where your TSH levels are at. If they are 4 and higher you are definitely elevated. My Endo likes my levels around 1 because I have both type 1 and Hypothyroidism. Correct your TSH levels and the chances you get rid of your frozen shoulder will greatly increase.

  3. Casabby
    Casabby December 7, 2011 at 6:48 am | | Reply

    You’re absolutely correct that doctors don’t completely understand why frozen shoulder happens. My orthopedist mentioned that it is somewhat like chicken pox in that once you get it, you are very unlikely to get it again in the same shoulder. Once you’ve had it in each shoulder, you are very unlikely to get it again at all. Unfortunately PWD are more at risk for reoccurence.

    This indicates that there is more than glucose involved in frozen shoulder. It may have an autoimmune component. Unfortunately it’s just not known.

    About 10 years ago I had frozen shoulder in one shoulder following an injury. After that healed I got it in the second shoulder for no apparent reason. I keep my fingers crossed that my orthopedist is correct that it is unlikely that I will ever have frozen shoulder again.

  4. Mary Fairweather Dexter
    Mary Fairweather Dexter December 7, 2011 at 6:57 am | | Reply

    A few years ago, my left shoulder froze. Getting a diagnosis was difficult. The pain would come and go, so they didn’t believe me. Eventually I was unable to raise my arm above my waist in the back, making getting dressed (fastening waistbands on skirts) particularly challenging. I was constantly taking asperin all day long. My doctors didn’t want to admit that it was frozen shoulder or a complication of my diabetes, because my bg numbers were better that most and complications are viewed as failure. It’s a box they don’t like to tick. Finally, I switched health care plans (this was only part of the reason; they were incompetent in other, more dangerous ways) and I found a doctor who actually cares. He sent me to PT and I got range of motion back.

  5. susan f
    susan f December 7, 2011 at 7:50 am | | Reply

    I went through about 9 months of PT making little to no progress before deciding to have surgery. I do wish I had tried surgery either. Surgery is NOT a quick fix – you’ll be in PT for months post-op as well. After surgery I diligently did an hour of exercises and stretches a day.

    Pre-op, I could only gain a few degrees of freedom in a PT session; post-op I’d make leaps and bounds which made it easier to stay the course.

    If I could change what happened, I would have:
    * gotten a steroid shot as soon as possible as it can stop the progression
    * not listened when the first doc said it was not frozen shoulder; I should have fought for a PT prescription regardless of what the doc thought it was
    * tried surgery earlier

    The steroid shot affected my blood sugars for about a week. First day was 3X the insulin, last day I was back to 1X. My CGMS graphs show a nice linear falloff over those seven days.

    I’m sorry to anyone else going through this!

    I have almost full range of motion left – the only thing I cannot do is full external rotation, but that is not a very functional pattern of motion.

  6. Ann B
    Ann B December 7, 2011 at 8:02 am | | Reply

    Well said Allison! As a massage therapist, I can tell when someone has diabetes because the connective tissue feels tougher. It feels thick and lacking elastic, almost like it is a buffer between the skin and the muscles, I’m trying to reach. What I have been told is that frozen shoulder among PWD is increased if they have lived with diabetes 15 years or more, or if they lack a bg sugar control.

    I had a torn rotator cuff a few years ago, which developed into frozen shoulder. I still have a little limited range of motion, but no pain. However, this year I developed full blown frozen shoulder on the right side, which is not uncommon to have the other shoulder suffer the same. I’m actually about to begin a treatment called dry needling, which is similar to acupuncture, but done by physical therapists.

    The last resorts should be cort. injections as there tend to make bones more porous over time and surgery adds scar tissue and limits range of motion again.

  7. Blondie
    Blondie December 7, 2011 at 1:03 pm | | Reply

    This article was very interesting and connects the dots for me as I’m a type 1 diabetic and have been for more than 40 years. I experienced frozen shoulder several years ago and thought it was the result of painting the walls in my living room…I vowed never again to paint another room. I tried pt for a short time along with a cortisone shot…all to no avail. I then opted for surgery and it was the best thing I could have done. Sure, the post-op pt was a little painful, but before I knew it, I had full range of motion. Now, my left shoulder is experiencing the same problem. I’m active playing tennis and really need the motion of my left arm, but I haven’t yet made the step towards surgery…but I will at some point in the near future. Thanks for an informative article, it made my day.

  8. kathy
    kathy December 7, 2011 at 3:41 pm | | Reply

    I have had this in both shoulders. It is painful and debilitating, but it does seem to heal completely. It’s been over three years since my second shoulder went through this and I can’t feel any difference in either one. It is a long two years however.

    Interestingly, my golf game was improved when my left shoulder was frozen, and completely impossible when my right shoulder was frozen.

  9. kim
    kim December 8, 2011 at 10:55 am | | Reply

    i am suffering with a frozen left shoulder. it has been about 2years now, and they say that it should “thaw” on its own in about this time. i have gone through months of PT to no avail. also steriod shots, which accomplished nothing. my right shoulder was frozen in 1998/99 or so, and i did physio and steroids, and what finally “thawed” it was working in a grocery store, as a cashier and using that repetetive cross swinging motion to scan groceries! unfortunately that wont work this time, as i scan from right to left LOL! however, after watching your video, i noticed another video on something called Trigenics, and i am looking into this further. i am going to call the Clinic here in Toronto and see what it is all about. it looks promising. i will let you all know!

  10. MikeG
    MikeG December 8, 2011 at 11:14 am | | Reply

    It’s important to be aware that adhesive capsulitis can also affect the hips. I had it in both shoulders (at the same time!) ten years ago, and now have it in my left hip. Only cure I’ve found is a good therapist and constant stretches and yoga.

  11. H N SINGH
    H N SINGH December 10, 2011 at 2:11 am | | Reply

    I’ m type 2 & I’ ve pain in left shoulder. I get relief with PT & sometimes I take a mild pain killer. I think I don’t need surgery at this stage.

  12. Myra
    Myra December 11, 2011 at 8:07 pm | | Reply

    Zack Niv did his DPT thesis on adhesive capsulitis. His research findings indicate that manual PT is extremely effective in resolving adhesive capsulitis. HOWEVER (and I am sorry to say this) other research has shown that 35% of adhesive capsulitis in diabetics DOES NOT RESOLVE. Not through surgery or multiple cortisone shots or physical therapy…it gets better or worse but not cured.
    Myra Susan Shoub Ph.D.

  13. Pam
    Pam December 15, 2011 at 10:23 am | | Reply

    I am in the middle of dealing with this painful syndrome. I have been seeing an orthopedist who is very knowlegable in frozen shoulder and we have both elected to forego physical therapy for my condition. The reasons are that the lastest research is showing that comparing those who seek physical therapy versus those who don’t, there is no difference in the recovery times or the range of motion that is recovered. Movement, however is important and I have some very easy at-home exercises that I use. Great article on a little known condition of diabetes

  14. Sylvia Lessa LMT, AMTA Member.
    Sylvia Lessa LMT, AMTA Member. March 26, 2012 at 10:14 pm | | Reply

    I am a Massage Therapist and am constantly amazed that with a number of conditions, including Frozen Shoulder, Massage is overlooked as a beneficial treatment. I have found Therapeutic Massage is very helpful, in conjunction with Physical Therapy, in reducing pain, and increasing mobility, by increasing circulation and clearing trigger points. It makes those painful stretches easier to bear.

  15. dianna
    dianna March 29, 2012 at 4:44 pm | | Reply

    Sooo, if she had frozen shoulder, I wouldn’t expect her to lift her arms that high… not being mean, just having experience……

    1. Mary Fairweather Dexter
      Mary Fairweather Dexter March 30, 2012 at 5:57 am | | Reply

      Direction of movement not altitude. Problem isn’t over the shoulder but up from behind, raising the other arm to meet that hand. Arm reaching may not be side that’s frozen but the opposite side. This causes problems when managing fastenings in the back of clothing (zippers, waistbands, etc.) or trying to wash one’s back.

  16. JACKIE
    JACKIE November 28, 2012 at 12:08 am | | Reply


  17. MB
    MB March 6, 2013 at 9:12 pm | | Reply

    I had frozen shoulder on my left side for about 3 years. I tried EVERYTHING (acupuncture, massage, chiropractors, pt, yoga, cotisone, other therapeutic things I can’t remember the name of) and it still took 3 years to clear up. Nothing seemed to work until I tried PRP (platelet rich plasm) injections. They worsened the stiffness for a short while but completely aleviated the pain. I now have it in my right shoulder (20%) of people get it on both sides. I am doing very extensive pt and will get another PRP shot if the pain still continues at this unbearable level. Yoga has been extremely helpful as well. It bides me about 12 hours of no pain. Lastly, 10 years ago I had frozen hips. I think it was not as bad a stage shoulder because you have no choice but to use your hips most of the day.

  18. tori
    tori April 26, 2013 at 2:30 am | | Reply

    Has anyone tried magnesium oil? I have heard it works for frozen shoulder (I have not been dx’d but I think that is what I have0 and am going to buy some.

  19. Lindsay Smith
    Lindsay Smith January 10, 2014 at 11:38 pm | | Reply

    After breaking my left leg racing motorcycles “, took almost a year to heal ” I got the freeze on my left shoulder. I thought it was from being on crutches for so long. Had forced manipulation done under anestsia sorry if I didn’t spell that right . Shoulder came back to about 85%. Now one year later have it in the other shoulder and knowing more now I manipulate and stretch all the time but the pain is increasing and the sleep is hard to come by. I even continue to race and scream at the top of my lungs when it just goes a little to far. Guess I will need to go back in for some surgery lovin. And yes I have type 1 diabetes. Iam 47 yrs old and have learned to roll with the punches of a worn out body but I am gonna take till their isn’t anymore to take. Stay positive my fellow frozen friends.

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