Frozen shoulder, my BG experience after a steroid shot


During my 60 yrs with Type 1, I have had two frozen shoulders. One was treated with massage and physical therapy for many months until a doctor shot me with painkillers and literally got on top of and tore the shoulder apart. I felt better almost immediately.

When I had another frozen shoulder I asked a different doctor to do the same procedure and he was aghast about what the other orthopedic surgeon had done. If I remember correctly I had a steroid shot and ignored the arm. Both arms healed well.

Since keeping my A1c below 5.5 for the last 20 yrs, I have not had any more problems with frozen shoulders, trigger fingers, carpal tunnel, or dupuytren’s contracture.


Well that must have been exciting! Glad it worked out well. The thing that scared me the most about frozen shoulder is that for some people, it doesn’t resolve and they must live with a debilitating condition. I’m so glad that I was lucky enough to get the right treatment for me.


My massage therapist, who was with me, was really upset that the doctor did it. I too was shocked,but after months of severe pain, I was just glad to be able to move my shoulder again.

Yes, I feel very fortunate that both shoulders, and both hands which have undergone many surgeries and procedures all work well. One hand is still a bit crooked because I waited way too long to have my first procedure for duputyren’s.


Hi, I also have been diagnosed with frozen shoulder, have it for the last 3 years, had my first steroid shot (on May2018) and had to go to ER for high BGs after it, even though with PT have an improvement in ROM, the pain has not subside, my orthopedist order a second shot.


Good luck with that second steroid shot, @Claudia_Patricia_Oro. The doctor who gave me my shot stressed that I needed to participate fully with physical therapy and do all the daily exercises for one year or the pain would return worse than the original symptoms.

I kept up with PT for several months but I felt so good that I stopped doing the exercises. I luckily had no relapse but I think there was some wisdom in my doctor’s advice.

I hope you get the relief you’re seeking. Every time I roll over onto my right shoulder while sleeping, I am grateful for the lack of pain.


My frozen shoulder experience lasted nearly 6 years. 2 years of physio and chiropractors, plus multiple cortisone shots. Lived on pain killers for the better part of the time. Surgery was put off because in Canada I was told “most T1D frozen shoulders self-resolve over time”.

I had to pay for my own CT or MRI (can’t remember which), and when I finally got in to see an orthopedic surgeon he looked at me and asked why it wasn’t surgically repaired far earlier.

Needless to say they took an hour to remove all the adhesions, but it’s now almost as good as new.


Canadian health care confuses me. Many people are very complimentary of it, but then I hear stories like yours and makes me wonder.


@Jim26 - The confusion arises because most people understand Canada’s Healthcare to be a free-for-all with instant service for your every need. It’s not.

Don’t get me wrong, in my opinion it’s superior to the US system (my experiences with the US Healthcare is limited to the 5 weeks I spent at Mayo Rochester for a neuromuscular disorder). My Mayo experiences provided superior service (seeing multiple specialists in a short time period), but of course it was all pay-as-you-go.

In Canada, each province have their own Healthcare Boards who manage the medical/hospital services and the timeliness of getting procedures done. It’s quite common to hear of people waiting 2 years or more for hip or knee replacements, usually becoming hooked on Oxy (provided by Healthcare), Crazy system


I’ve had this. I still feel it a little. It was very strange. Affected a lot of things such as working out. At first I thought it was from lifting weights. I used to use bands attached to the barbell on the bench press. I thought I pulled something with using the bands too much. But it didn’t go away. Eventually a doctor told me that it sounded like frozen shoulder, and that diabetics do get this. I believe he said that it would go away on its own. It was quite a bit of time though. Very uncomfortable especially with sleeping, showering, working out. I had to keep my arm straight down with my hand around my hip and sleeping face down pushing my shoulder into the mattress to achieve any comfort falling asleep. It is better now, but still a little sensitive at times. I just kept trying to do things that I would normally do, but when I reached that limit I would gradually decrease in order for the pain to stop. It was a gradual thing with me. I didn’t do the shot or any physical therapy. I just limited how I would stretch and use the shoulder, but I felt incapacitated completely not using that side of my arm. So I would try to just do little by little as long as the pain was not so severe. I hope it gets better and more comfortable. I believe physical therapy is a good idea. It was very annoying for me. I’m very anti pain killers and stuff. I have taken sleeping pills in the past though, but not for this. I did surely use Bengay though.


I’m finally heading to a specialist this Tuesday.

My right shoulder started summer 2016, and was excruciating through the fall and winter (while I got ineffectual massage and ultrasound weekly while living abroad). Got some good PT for 4 months when I got home (Canada), so a year and a half later it is finally almost normal.

Then a year and a half ago I got a flu shot on left shoulder and the swelling triggered pain and stiffness and it happened AGAIN! I can only go about 15 degrees front and side with it, super debilitating, (less intense than the right was though) and can’t sleep on EITHER side… but…

I’m so afraid a specialist is going to want to yank it around and hurt it and it will get worse! It’s the tiniest pain started the ball rolling, so won’t “breaking it up” create swelling? I feel like slow physio worked eventually on the right. Is it really worth the pain you guys? I think it’s too late for steroid shot - as its now in the encapsulated stage. I’ll see what specials says.

PS - this fall I got a flu shot in my thigh by request, clever me


Good luck with your treatment, @ArcherAidan. If physical therapy worked on your right shoulder then that’s a good reason to try it on your left shoulder. I never thought about a correlation between the flu shot given in the upper arm and then experiencing frozen shoulder. I hope you get relief soon; I know the pain you’re dealing with. Please update when you can.


I know how you’re feeling @ArcherAidan. That’s exactly how I felt for years after being initially diagnosed. Over time it might seem to improve, but something as little as a slight stumble would cause a jarring that results in excruciating pain.

I went to a chiropractor for 6 months who ultimately wrenched it to “break up” the adhesions. While nearly causing me to pass out, it actually did improve it for a short well. I found out later he was doing more damage internally, and ultimately surgery was the only solution.

Hope things go well with appointment .


About eight years ago I had a frozen hip and about four years ago I sensed similar symptoms in my shoulder. I’m 29 years of T1D. Last summer I finally broke down and started physical therapy. That didn’t help and at the end of December I had surgery. The dr was able to get full range of motion during the surgery and I started pt again immediately, 3-5 times a week. Now I’m about 8 weeks out and have lost some of the motion I gained in the first few weeks after the surgery. I’m debating whether to do cortisone - it did nasty things to my blood sugar when I had the problem with my hip, and even with a cgm I worry about going low as the shot starts to wear off. I’m going to think about it for the next month as I continue pt and home exercises 4-5 times a day. It’s no fun, but hugely helpful to hear other people’s experiences.


Did they give you the pulley device for at home range-of-motion exercises Jillian?

I remember thinking I was going to tear the sutures out of my shoulder at first, but despite the searing pain the first couple of days it soon felt 1000% better. I have 95% range of motion in my repaired shoulder, even 8 years after surgery.


I have been doing the pulley at PT. It also seems like my shoulder is super stiff in the morning but as I do the exercises it loosens up throughout the day. I got back close to 100% range in my hip so I’m hoping that with time (and stretches) the shoulder will do the same.


Jillian - I hate to sound unfeeling, because it’s excruciatingly painful initially. But, no pain no gain. At least I was given several days of Oxy to take, which helped at least a little.

Now that you mention it I recall the AM stiffness too. I’d remedy that by going to pulley and doing a few reps in the morning. Within 3 or 4 weeks it felt much better, albeit down on strength because of all the atrophy.

Keep at it, it’s a longer term thing :+1:t3:


Jim - Thanks so much for your thoughts. It’s encouraging to hear that you got better! And I see after a few minutes of searching online that the home pulleys are quite inexpensive (the one at my clinic is part of this enormous metal contraption so getting one for home use hadn’t even occurred to me). So I think I’ll get a pulley and add it to my home routine a few times a day.


I’d box my pulley up and send it to you but it either went into trash or is hidden away in the recesses of the basement.

Like you said they’re relatively inexpensive, although you will develop a Love / Hate relationship with it :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:

Good luck Jillian!


I had a cortisone shot for an injured finger 2 weeks ago. I use MDI plus a split dose of Levemir. My baseline requirements doubled after the cortisone and remained there for about a week, then dropped to just 1unit more at each dose by 2 weeks. I sometimes had to increase boluses to 1.5-2x usual doses, and still BGLs would go high. However, when I started to have a few lows on the higher doses, the (residual cortisone?) seems to have kept the lows from being severe. In retrospect, I probably would not repeat cortisone, but that’s because in my case - a finger injury that was very slow to heal (7+ months) was healing- my OT thought it was just not healing fast enough. Now with cortisone wearing off, feels like finger is about where it was prior to shot after a brief easing of the inflammation. Oh well. But with CGM helping, hopefully the slow diminishment of cortisone effect may make your lows close to treatment time less severe.


Just to fill you in how it went with the cortisone shot in my shoulder. 2 weeks ago:

a) significantly less pain within 7 days
b) no improvement on mobility
c) 2-3 days of constantly high blood glucose. It was getting scary stacking all that insulin and thinking it would hit me at once. The shoulder doctor actually said, “expect it to be about 4-6 mmols (70-100!) higher than usual for a couple days”. Totally right! I should have tried 125% basal if nothing else, instead of being so reactionary.