Frozen Joints~ Two failed surgeries- Any solutions?

Approx. 2 1/2 years ago my right shoulder began to freeze. Too many cortisone shots, an attempt at prednisone, 2 years of PT appts, and two surgeries later and now my left shoulder is beginning to freeze as well. The pain is constant and can be extreme with the wrong motion/direction or stretch of my arms. I have been told that this is not unusual for a diabetic of 37+ years. My doctors have basically left me with ........"keep sugars under tight control, continue with PT and hopefully it will unfreeze in time. I am desperate to stop this nonstop dull to extreme pain. Any ideas?



I am sorry to hear about your problem.

About 3 (almost 4) years ago I developed bilateral frozen shoulders -- yes, both at the same time.  The reason was unclear except that it could be because of diabetes.  PT for 2 years, lots of shots and finally went to a pain med doctor - I did not believe that surgery would help me as I was told it could come back anyway.

I was NOT a good 3 years ... but I try to do stuff every day and I no longer take pain meds ... 

I don't really have any suggestion for you, but I have spent MANY sleepless nights thinking about what I might do.



Thanks, today's constant need to ask my family to get things off higher shelves nearly pushed me to the edge of a complete Easter meltdown. I am learning to put everything lower and have finally given in and bought a damn good step stool for kitchen.  Surviving another family holiday without killing someone should be viewed as another positive step in the right direction.

Hello Martha;

Frozen Shoulder syndrome can last 2-3 years it is not always easy to diagnose at first. Hence why Doctors choose PT, Medications, or surgery. However they tend to lack in knowledge of Holistic Medicine ( ie: Herbs, Massage, Chiropractic, Etc.). I have been working as a Massage Practitioner for 30+ yrs and have alleviated this sydrome with good effects. it can take well up to 12 sessions but none the less there is hope. Neuromuscular Massage, Trigger Point Massage, Postional Release Massage, are a few modalites that can be used to restore the shoulder to a normal state. my best advice is to google Associated Bodyworkers & Massage Professionals (ABMP) and go into searching for a Massage Practitioner to find some one in your area. Good luck

I will definately look into that, I am not even concerned about the loss of motion as much as bothered by the pain with any motion. I am going to see an acupuncturist in May, and am willing to try all alternative treatments until I find one or a combination that works.


I also forgot a pain lotion a suggest to clients is a dime size amount of any lotion on hand with a sprinkle or two of Cinnamon from the kitchen or cayenne pepper  either or work mix it in the lotion then apply to area of pain. works within 10 minutes of application for reducing pain or eliminating pain temporally.


I feel your PAIN!!  

Not to disrespect any of the sound advise of MassagePro - but for me nothing worked except sleeping in an upright position (usually in a chair - UGH!), TENS helped a bit, but mine has gone 4 years and never quite resolved (no surgery on either shoulder), but at least my pain is minimal now (I notice that if my BG gets too high I am in FAR more pain) and I am back to working out daily - just shooting hoops is a BIG exercise for me.

I do hope you find relief in whatever modality (meds, PT, adjustments, etc. work for you mentally and physically

There are a couple of Frozen Shoulder support groups out there ... I had to stop reading them ... there was no great news.


How are you blood sugars Martha?  In my experience frozen should flares when I have a lot of high blood sugars, then takes a few weeks of better control to go away.  Do you use an insulin pump?

Also, as you know, steroids make sugars really high, which can make the frozen shoulder worse.  I'd avoid them if at all possible.  Hope it resolves soon.  

Having been  there with the pain, I would take the steroids )shots in your shoulder) and carefully watch your BG as they will go UP for at least 2 days ... Taking pain meds is really very short lived.  What one needs is a reduction in the inflammation - but alas, they will probably only give you 4 injections before it will become detrimental to your joints --

My personal experience was that the injections, if done properly, gave me 2 months of reduced pain and increased movement.

But since this is your second round -- you probably already know what works best for you.

Like jennagrant  says, too many steriods can be dangerous so keep a close check on your BG  - the prednisone packs (tabs) did not work too well for me.  

Maybe you should ask for Ultram for the pain - it gives SOME relief ...


I went to an accupuncturist who also did accupressure. He manipulated my arms (bilateral frozen shoulders) and did the needles. It was painful treatment, but it worked. I did some research and the bottom line is that apparently the best solution is heat and manipulation. The manipulation can be quite painful, but will work to loosen things up.


Blood sugars are very good for about two months, prior to that was a good year of okay- could be better sugars. I have had enough cortisone shots to possibly grow a full set of testicles, and got about two weeks pain relief max, no increase of motion. I like the TENS unit I have but only get a bit of relief temporarily from it. I am just sick of the pain, miserable nights sleep, pills, pt, ...........etc. I don't even care if the arms never move- I just want the pain to stop! I recently bought a step stool, and some reaching thing with a long handle- I am aging in dog years- and have had it!

My cat attacked me when I used ben gay- I had to fight him off with a magazine and lock him out of the room! Took a shower, needed to change my bedding and throw clothes immed. into wash- It was like a Steven King movie


I really hear you!!  The pain is UNBEARABLE!!  Like I said earlier, for 3 long years it was unbearable -- I just wanted the pain to go away too - I really did not care about the ROM - I just wanted to be able to sleep and have a "normal" day.  

I did not do the surgery as i was guaranteed  that there is no guarantee that it would not happen again.

Now, 4 years later, the pain went away - the ROM is better, but not what it used to be ..  I did find that sleeping on a new memory foam (many brands ...) mattress allowed me to sleep better as I typically rolled to my side and frequently woke with severe shoulder pain.

While I am not a proponent  of pain meds (and SO MANY doctors would not even give them), I found that some did offer relief (ultram, Gabapentin, vicodin (yes), Nucynta, methadone).  A GOOD pain management doctor should be able to help you - but my experience was that doctors in general were not even willing to talk about pain management - mainly SURGERY and PT.  

The PT I did for 2 years, but ultimately it was one year of pain med treatment that helped me the most, but it too me 4 months to find a doctor to treat pain.  But that is my story and I am sure many will disagree, but no one lives YOUR life.

You answer is what you are will to live with ...  

I wish you a speedy recovery.

I take the Gabapentin (Nuerontin) and Naproxen daily, with the occasional percocet when I just can't take it. I bought a tempurpedic about three years ago with a bursitis issue in hips, love the mattress and cannot sleep at all on regular one. My rt. arm is just beginning to have less pain, little motion, but my left arm is just starting the freeze and intense pain. This is now the two and half year mark for me, the thought of just starting the left freeze up just makes me want to crack! Thanks for all the stories and advice, it makes it much easier to know others have gone through it and made it to the other side.  By the way.......I love a good pain pill!

Hi Martha,

I was wondering if you've found any help for your shoulders? My husband has had frozen shoulders for almost 3 years. He had PT, and surgery on one shoulder, which did no good. He has almost no ROM in his arms. I'm desparate to find a solution for him. His doctors seem to say the same things yours are saying. I hope you're doing better.

I have had bilateral frozen shoulders for over 13 years and went through the therapies but was told that because of the diabetes that surgery is not recommemended.  In non diabetes patient it is usually self liminting in 2-3 years but in those of us with diabetes if it does not resolve in that time frame it will probably never resolve.  Fortunately, with time the pain got better or I just got use to it and have learned to twist and contort my body to get around some of the limitations most of the time even though that causes spasms in my back and other places but like everything else you do what you can do and learn to live with the restrictions.  sorry there is not a fix because I would love to have found one years ago.