Rats! Frozen right shoulder.

Any experienced sea-kayakers have/had this?

I’m in the frozen stage so far and surgeon said it would take up to a year to get full range without physio. But with aggressive physio I can reduce the time, but it has to be done in small steps or I’ll re-injure it. I had surgery on my left shoulder 3 years ago for another reason and it’s 98% now thanks to strick physio. No surgery to happen on right one but like I said aggressive physio and a few months off work for sure.



what is frozen shoulder?
Is it like a rotator cuff tear? Is there a more accurate medical definition?

(have been through 2 rc tears in the last 6 years).

Yeah - more detail?
The reason that I ask is that I had a problem that seemed like it was a shoulder issue earlier this year - we are now at the good (and costly) side of 4 months of treatments at chiro and massage to recover the issue. The symptoms were lack of mobility and shooting pain down my arm and tingling and swelling into my thumb and first two fingers, so it really seemed to be a shoulder thing on the face of it. The only thing that didn’t work was that I never had the issue lifting my arm that typifies a roatator cuff injusry - in fact when it was really bad I could only tolerate it with my arm up in the air.

As things pregressed it’s become clear that it was actually a back issue - some damage to the joint that hides under the shoulder blade - that caused things to freeze up and affect the upper nerve running over the shoulder and down the arm. In fact it turns out that the person who cuts my hair has had a bout of the same thing. Stimulation, adjustment and really good massage person who was able to get her hand in just over the shoulder blade and into that joint turned the trick (and yeah it is very uncomfortable but ti works).

My bad!
Sorry! I keep assuming people know but realized many do not. Frozen shoulder (FS) or adhesive capsulitis, as known medically, can be mild to severe. Unfortunately the surgeon said I had the worst case scenario. I can’t move my right arm using my shoulder plus I get all types of pain from dull to sharp.

FS is a disorder in which the shoulder capsule -the connective tissue surrounding the glenohumeral joint of the shoulder - becomes inflamed and stiff. About three months ago, I started getting sharp pains in my shoulder joints from throwing things simple as a paper wad. It progressively got worst weekly to the point I couldn’t move my right arm at all. Initially it didn’t affect my kayaking in the summer but I did cancel a canoe trip when I started getting pains. I also stopped road cycling (my primary sport) right after that. Here are some links below.



There are more links obviously. Be careful as always what sites you read and of course see your GP who will refer you to a Orthopedic surgeon. AND remember everyone’s symptons are different see the experts. My surgeon looked at my MRI and saw nothing which shocked me, I thought I had a torn rotar cuff for months which my GP thought it was. The surgeon said the good news you don’t need (and he won’t do) surgery for FS. There is no real theory as to what causes it. And the bad news it can take up to a year for me to get my range back unless I do physio with a well trained physiotherapist. I might cut back a few months that way. Plus the killer is there is no guarantee to how long it will take but IT WIll go away eventually. There are some surgeries but it seems most surgeons don’t recommend it.

Celia, you’ll have to see a doc about your condition. I was totally wrong in assuming that my right shoulder’s problem was exactly like my left was except for the addition of a RC tear. So every shoulder or whatnot problem can be different.

In case of interest…My left shoulder had the Subacromial Impingement Syndrome (google this one) and required surgery after physio failed. That was a period of two years right up to recovery. I had recovered fully on the left shoulder.

Still miserable and in pain! Physio starting soon and it will be painful for good reasons.


Sorry, first link not working.

Use this link and Frozen Shoulder as keyword.



Thanks - my status
My situation is OK at this point. I’ve had three months out of boats on doc’s order to recover from a minor hernia fix, which has effectively allowed the treatments on the back to work successfully. I played two back to back concerts this last weekend (violin), which had been aggravating it, without any penalty the next morning. So I figure we are back to my normal 56 year old back.

Thanks for the info - it’ll be of use to others.

I had frozen
shoulder, and was diagnosed about 2 years ago. I was told that the good news are that almost everyone are cured in about 1-2 years, doing nothing. I was also told that most therapi does not work. After 18 months a friend of mine got the same diagnosis and was told cortison injections might help. I still had big problems and went to his doctor, one injection was all that was needed to get rid of it.


Physio does work…
1) get one that is highly recommended esp. by an ortho surgeon.

There is a glutten of poorly trained specialists out there.

2) complete (how many people do I know who only do a week or two of it then quit) the recovery program recommended by the physiotherapist.

3) It will be painful, guaranteed, esp. with my FS. Even the surgeon told me.

I have no desire to be a gimp for a year or so. LOL!

Also when I followed the physio on my other shoulder after surgery my shoulder was better than it has been in twenty years.

Microwave at medium for 10 min
Seriously, a home remedy is to face a wall and run your fingers of the frozen arm up the wall, many times a day.

frozen shoulder
I suffered through a frozen shoulder a few years back. It was bad enough that I could barely pick up the decorative pillows that my wife keeps on the bed. IIRC, it took about three or four months of physio twice a week to get things more or less back to normal (although I still can’t reach behind my back to wash my left shoulder blade area with my right hand.)

The physio consisted of: hot towels to warm the area, “stim” therapy (you wear a battery pack that sends an electrical current for a few seconds while you do light exercise with a rubber band), physical massage (I like this part the best!) and then cooling.

I don’t know if the physical massage actually helped, but I sure liked it. The “stim” stuff was … interesting … a light tingling in the shoulder area when the unit was “on”. I could change the power levels and I usually cranked it up quite high.

The sessions were an hour, twice a week. I’d stop in on my way home from work. These guys specialized in sports medicine: I don’t know if a regular physio centre would be as good or not.


While my issue turned out not to be frozen shoulder, I found that stimulation did work over time. But it came with a caveat. From treatment to treatment things were more erratic - sometimes I’d walk out with the pain having been absolutely banished for a good hour or so and then the next two times it’d seem that it hadn’t done anything for the pain and I could only spot a miniscule increase in movement right after.

My best guess was that while I was recovering, the area was so inflamed that almost non-noticeable diff’s in what I did the rest of the day or had done that morning could leave it in a completely different state of readiness to give me fast relief. Since it was on my right side and I am right-handed, there was little I could do to completely avoid using it. And my orchestras started up again midway thru therapy, so while I was good enough to be able to play with caution it probably didn’t accelerate the healing. (I’m a section leader in one so staying out for a concert isn’t a choice unless I am on my back.)

I’ve have seen differing results with Cortisone shots over time, the reason that I avoided that solution tho’ some were saying I should try it. I saw my father go thru them on an every 6 month basis for a bad spot in his lower back. The first one worked great, the second one worked somewhat and by a year and a half later he was further along in damage and the shot wasn’t being effective any more. He never tried any PT or body work - whether because he refused or the doc didn’t suggest I don’t know. His experience wasn’t very different from some others I’ve talked with - so I am suspicious of it as a good solution for someone like myself who wants long term healing even if it means some more immediate pain.

I haven’t had that issue with a shoulder that i know off,but i had something that sounds similar to it on my right knee.The surgeon thought originally that it’s a tear in the meniscus( there was no MRI before arthroscopy). So i went in for the arthroscopy(3 little cuts, using miniature surgical tools and a scope), when i woke up he told me i had a thickening of the capsula and that it’s fixed now. Long story short, a week later i was walking, a month later i was back to 85% and in 2 up to 95% or so. soreness is gone 95% of the time, once in a blue moon i’ll feel it if i turn funny but otherwise i’m good. :slight_smile:

Getting old
Just ain’t for sissies. The little things’ll come back and be more noticeable eventually.

One of the orchestras I play violin with still has one of its founding members. She is struggling a lot with the music these days, but was obviously a hell of a player when younger. She has moved herself to the back of the section and has mastered the art of playing the notes that she can make on time and on the right pitch and leaves the fast stuff to younger hands. Every time I get cranky about the old falls from a horse or the broken wrist that’ll surely be noticeable as arthritis eventually, I think of Jane and shut up.

Jane will be 100 years old this coming summer, and still stands up straighter than I do.

AFter one month…
of my diagnose of FS, I am doing a heck of a lot better in terms of pain. The sharp (ice pick stabbing I call it) pain is non-existent so far. I have got back 30% of my motion range. I very rarely take meds now. There is still some discomfort and dull pain but the smile is back on my face.

My physiotherapist may be right, I’ll be a 100% in a couple of months, not a year and back to work in a month hopefully.

95% recovered!
Another update. Almost totally recovered from frozen shoulder. No more private physio since four weeks ago, just at home physio, strength and stretch type of exercises including heavier weights. Still some tension in prime joint of shoulder but the physiotherapist said time will rid of that completely. Can throw things now but just cautiously so far. At least I’m pain free and back to my road cycling.

Ready to do some simple sea-kayaking in two weeks.