Frozen shoulder?

I am having problems with my left shoulder that seem to be "frozen shoulder" or adhesive capsulitis. I did discuss this with my endo, and she basically said that physical therapy doesn't help and that I just need to wait for it to resolve itself. The stats I have seen say that about 40% of Type 1s get frozen shoulder. Has anyone had experience with this, and found something that worked for them?

My range of motion is not terribly impacted, and I only have occasional pain, but since I am very active and do a lot of yoga, I would really like to get this "fixed" or dealt with as best as possible. I have made an appointment with my GP to see what my options are. Thanks.

My mother (not a PWD) had frozen shoulder treated with acupuncture & physical therapy, gentle stretching exercises. Her GP suggested cortisone shots for the inflammation, but she didn’t want to go that route.

I had frozen shoulder in both arns. I did some PT, stayed active, and it all helped a bit. It mostly took time to recover though. After 4 years, I’m probably 95% recovered.

I think diabetics are more prone to joint problems, that diabetes causes a thickening of tendons and a tendency to inflame joints. The typical doctor will tell you to don’t use it if it hurts and stay off the shoulder till it heals. I believe that is absolutely worst thing to do. If you want to restore movement and regain lost strength, you need to work it. And it will probably be painful. But before you go and start on things, you should make talk to someone who has a “clue.”

You would be best served by seeing a specialist (not your endo or your GP). Perhaps an orthopedic specialist who focuses on shoulders. Try to choose one who is NOT a surgeon (he will just cut you), but rather one who is more on the chiropractic end of the scale. Even a chiro might be good, I have heard very good things about the “Active Release Technique.” When I have injured my shoulder that was what I was considering. There are a range of exercises that you can use to increase and maintain the range of motion and strength.

Hi Brian: Thanks for the excellent suggestions (and thanks to everyone for the feedback). I am seeing my GP tomorrow to get directed to the specialist(s) that I need (I have Kaiser insurance). My GP is actually brillant and amazing, so I am fine with starting there.

One of my yoga teachers is a physical therapist, and she also teaches anatomy. She said to really move it, in spite of the pain. So I have, to the degree that I seem to have relieved some of the adhesions, and certainly have lessened some of the pain. A yoga buddy who had both shoulders freeze ultimately had a cortisone shot, which helped tremendously and she only wished she had done it sooner. I have never had a cortisone shot, and I worry about getting one because I hear it causes real blood sugar problems (hyper). But I would actually do it if it meant getting better and also having full recovery. I have read that most people experience full recovery, but that Type 1 diabetics often don’t. I want full recovery.


I went through chiropractic “Active Release Technique” years ago to free up symptoms that otherwise would have been Dx’d as carpal tunnel. Four or five sessions of what amounts to deep tissue work (can be painful), and only stretches while keyboarding since – great stuff. Here’s a web link for locating ART practictioners.

Hope you find a way to be on the mend soon!

I had shoulder issues within a year after I was diagnosed. It was never officially diagnosed as ‘frozen shoulder’ but in hindsight, I believe that’s what it was.

In any case, physical therapy under the care of a chiropractor significantly increased my range of motion and eliminated the pain within six (6) months. Up to then, I considered chiros to be quacks - but I’m quacking a different tune these days. Flexibility and strengh exercises have kept my shoulder nice and loose.

Like bcs, I would skip the GP (mine was no help) and go straight to your yoga instructor/pt. You may need a referral to her if you have insurance that might pay for her services.

Good luck,


Most likely the cause is the subscapularis .Find a massotherapist who does medical massage and can really work the scapla. Also google "subscapularis sretch’’. I prefer the door stretch.

About 2 years ago my left shoulder froze. Painful and could not raise it above my waist from behind. When I switched insurance companies and doctors, he sent me to PT which helped a lot. I still do the exercises occasionally when it seems to threaten to act up again. I definitely recommend going to PT to get your life back. Wish I had been able to go earlier. Why wait until it gets worse?

You have two right shoulders? I really have to call you out on this one. I won’t believe it without a picture. Ooops, I found the picture, here it is:

I have frozen shoulder in both shoulders. Had manipulation surgery, PT and cortisone injections in both shoulders. I haven’t had to go back through PT or surgery in 9 years, but have to occasionally go back to my orthopaedic surgeon for injections. Right now, I haven’t had an injection in 3 years in the left shoulder and haven’t had one in the right shoulder for 9 years. I recommend seeing a good orthopaedic doctor. I disagree with your endo in that PT won’t help…it will take time, but it will help. If you can handle the cortisone injection without your sugars running too high, that helps quite a bit. Good luck!

LOL - that is so good BSC!!! Nice artwork … Alan :slight_smile:

Seriously tho’. I’ve had frozen shoulder. Went for physical therapy, then cortizone shot, then in end that didn’t work, went to specialist, put under, shoulder played around with, no probs since. I did have it starting it the other shoulder, but that was due to undergoing mastectomy and not being permitted to move my arm for awhile. I cured that prob myself, last month, by being in 10 foot waves in confused seas, got tossed around in the cabin of our sailboat at one point when I went down below to “attempt” to test BG’s of our sailboat like a tin of tuna, grabbed a handrail, yank, shoulder all cured (and for free as well ). Glad to read you do yoga, that is a good exercise that I’d love to take up one day.

I had a frozen shoulder. PT did not help and was rather painful. I stopped. A couple of months later my shoulder got better by itself and is now 100%. About a month before this miracle happened I started eating omega-3. I read later here at TU that omega-3 is an antiflammatory and can help with frozen shoulder. Coincidence or not? I will never know.

I had a frozen shoulder and didn’t do anything until it was frozen solid for awhile. I think it will eventually work it’s way out on it’s own ( I think the process of freezing and unfreezing can take several years) I did go for therapy which helped get it unlocked with stretching exercises and I think shortened the frozen time. The exercises are simple and can be done at home. Never had any shots.

I have had a frozen shoulder for about a year and a half. It is better now, but I am still aware of discomfort some times. I went for treatment to a PT and she stretched it several times a week for a couple of months. The stretching is the only way to loosen up the scar tissue which is what keeps it frozen. I would vote for the PT treatment over the steroid shots. I had steroid shots for a back problem a couple of years ago and my BS went thru the roof. External treatment I feel is always preferred to internal treatment.

Holy moly!

I have not had a frozen shoulder - although I did have bursitis in my shoulder once and it was extremely painful. I just wanted to second the opinion of those who recommend you see a specialist. I’ve learned that one the hard way…a couple of times I’m afraid. A woman in my church was hit by a car, which crushed her humerus. She went to Houston to see a doctor who specializes in humerus injuries. Wow. I had no idea. There are probably doctors who specialize in frozen shoulders, too.

I’ve had Frozen Shoulder in my right shoulder. Couldn’t get my arm above my waist either way I tried (front or back) the dr done surgery on it (found my rotator cup was 59% gone whole other story) And then done PT. I too disagree with your DR. Still do it at home (some of the exercises that was shown to me) So far so good. Hope you get the help you need soon.

I previously had frozen shoulder – terribly painful. My range of motion was so limited that I opted for the cortisone injection (which of course made my bgs a mess for awhile), But it was worth it. The injection gave me the mobility I needed to conduct effective physical therapy. I had some neck pain that lasted a bit lon,ger but for the most part when the PT was over, I was pretty good. It took about a full year from the onset to be 100%

I was diagnosed with both shoulders about 10 years ago. However, mine had a different caveat as I was in an accident when I was 14 and had both shoulders dislocated. The doctors and PTs that I went to about the frozen shoulders at that time weren’t sure if they were from the D or from the accident. I think it was likely due to both but not the worse thing that can happen to a person.

I didn’t do surgery or cortisone but the PT helped slightly. At that time I had 45% range of motion in my left shoulder and 65% in the right. It got much better after a couple of years and then I went to the playground with the grand kids a year or so ago and was playing no the monkey bars with them and hung from both arms and “pop” they both came back full force.

Yippee, but even though painful there are worse things that can hit anyone, so I’ll deal with them and continue moving on.