Frozen shoulder (adhesive capsulitis) commonly occurs slowly, generally within a 2-year period. Thickening of the soft tissue around the shoulder occurs when inflammation is prolonged, leading to adhesion of parts that usually move separately.
Symptoms occur during stages, and may include:
- pain and reduced movement (freezing stage) over 3-9 months
- complete loss of movement (frozen stage) over 9-15 months. Pain is usually only felt at the end of the ‘range of movement’.
The shoulder gradually improves with minimal pain (thawing stage) over 15-24 months.