Frozen shoulder is among the more sinister maladies of orthopedic medicine: a slow-moving intruder that can catch many patients off-guard as its symptoms gradually grow more severe.
But it’s important to know that frozen shoulder isn’t a life sentence; most cases tend to “thaw” over time on their own, following a well-known, if agonizingly slow, timetable.
Harvard Health recently outlined the entire cycle for curious patients, describing what happens around a year after the initial onset as the shoulder begins to regain some mobility:
Stiffness goes away as the shoulder begins to heal. This is when you begin stretching exercises and formal therapy to help restore flexibility and range of motion. Typically, a therapist teaches you the exercises, which you then do at home for several weeks or months.
The keys are rest and gentle therapy, as well as a good consultation with an expert orthopedic surgeon to see if you can uncover any distal causes of the disorder. The other key: pain management, through a combination of medicine and exercise, as suits your needs.