Fixing Frozen Shoulder Syndrome


BALTIMORE, Md. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — It’s a very painful condition that most of us have never heard of. Frozen shoulder syndrome often comes on with little warning, and can limit a person’s everyday activities. The condition may mimic arthritis, but early diagnosis and treatment can help patients get on the road to recovery.

Suzanne Vaaler is always in the driver’s seat.

“I would say I probably spend about three hours in the car a day,” Vaaler told Ivanhoe.

Three kids with lots of places to go. But for months, even this was a big challenge.

“If I’m driving, there are times I cannot have full range of motion in my arm.”

Two years ago, Vaaler’s shoulder started to feel stiff. She thought it was a normal part of aging, until she was suddenly unable to move.

Vaaler explained, “I wasn’t able to do anything. I’ve had three children, and this was more painful than that.”

John-Paul Rue, M.D., an orthopedic surgeon at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore, Maryland diagnosed Vaaler with adhesive capsulitis, or frozen shoulder syndrome.

“It’s not clear why the condition starts but at some point, calcium deposits form in the rotator cuff,” detailed Dr. Rue. (Read Full Interview)

This causes inflammation and stiffness. Dr. Rue said it’s more common in patients starting in their forties, and patients with diabetes or thyroid trouble are at higher risk. While the condition often goes away on its own, in some cases, surgery can help. Surgeons make two incisions around the shoulder, and insert a fiber optic camera and small instruments to remove scar tissue.

“Then we do a gentle manipulation of the shoulder to stretch the capsule, which is the primary restraint to the motion of the shoulder,” explained Dr. Rue.

Vaaler said, “I would tell people to do what I did not do which is to have it checked out sooner rather than later.”

Dr. Rue said frozen shoulder syndrome affects about two percent of the U.S. population. Experts are unsure why, but the condition is more prevalent in women than in men.

Contributors to this news report include: Cyndy McGrath, Supervising and Field Producer; Milvionne Chery, Assistant Producer; Roque Correa, Editor and Videographer.



TOPIC:       Frozen Shoulder Syndrome

REPORT:   MB #4215


BACKGROUND: Frozen shoulder syndrome, or adhesive capsulitis, is a common but mostly unknown condition that is prevalent in around 2% of the American population. The condition is characterized by experiencing stiffness and pain the shoulder joint. The patient may lose significant motion of the shoulder and go through a lot of pain. The symptoms of frozen shoulder may be gradual in the beginning, but can become chronic overtime interfering with someone’s everyday life; they can also develop overnight. The disease is more common in people over the age of forty and in those who suffer from diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, cardiovascular diseases, and thyroid problems. Although it is unknown why, frozen shoulder syndrome is more prevalent in females than in males.
(Source: & Dr. John-Paul Rue)

SYMPTOMS: The ligaments, tendons and bones that make up the shoulder are all connected by a capsule of tissue. When this capsule thickens and tightens around the shoulder, moving becomes restricted and frozen shoulder syndrome occurs. The syndrome typically develops in three stages:

  • Freezing stage. Any movement of your shoulder causes pain, and the shoulder’s movements start to become limited.
  • Frozen stage. Pain may begin to diminish during this stage. However, the shoulder becomes stiffer, and using it becomes more difficult.
  • Thawing stage. Movements in your shoulder become easier.


TREATMENT: In its majority, frozen shoulder syndrome can be healed on its own, but, there are some treatments that exist depending on the severity of the syndrome and the pain. Some of the options include:

  • Medication
  • Therapy
  • Steroid injections
  • Joint distension
  • Shoulder manipulation
  • Surgery

If the pain is not as severe to take medication, do therapy or go under surgery, try applying some cold or heat in your shoulder to relive the pain. If the pain is severe and recurrent it is important to visit a doctor, since the earlier this syndrome is treated, the better.


Dan Collins


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