Harvard Men's Health Watch

Warming up a frozen shoulder

You cannot prevent this condition in most cases, but knowing what to expect can get you through the healing process.


Image: jqbaker/iStock

So much of life happens above shoulder height—washing your hair, reaching for objects on shelves, even a good morning stretch. If your shoulders are weak, life can be quite limited.

While everyday shoulder aches and stiffness are common, if pain and mobility become substantially worse over time, and you do not have arthritis in the shoulder, you may have a condition called adhesive capsulitis, also known as frozen shoulder.

"Frozen shoulder can be surprising and sometimes scary when it happens to you, but it is a relatively benign disease," says Dr. Neal Chen, an orthopedic physician with Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital. "You just need to know how to deal with it if it happens."

To continue reading this article, you must login.
  • Research health conditions
  • Check your symptoms
  • Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
  • Find the best treatments and procedures for you
  • Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
Learn more about the many benefits and features of joining Harvard Health Online »