Frozen Shoulder (Adhesive Capsulitis)

Frozen Shoulder (Adhesive Capsulitis) gives the game away in the title. It is reduced mobility of the shoulder joint.

Symptoms for computer users

painful shoulder

To start with, a dull ache might be felt over the shoulder with sharper pains with certain activities. As time goes on and more specifically, you may find moving your hand behind your head or back difficult and maybe also raising your arm to the horizontal. You may also have pain when you bring your hand to your mouth while eating and brushing your teeth.

Often the pain seems worse as night, and sleeping on the affected side can be difficult. The pain is usually felt over your outer shoulder, extending over the outer part of the upper arm.

For computer users, it is considered that the prolonged misalignment of your back, shoulder blade and upper arm puts significant stress on the ligaments and tendons around your shoulder. Smart phones too can be a significant factor.

A low back problem can cause the muscle that attaches between the shoulder blade and pelvis to tighten, reducing movement in the shoulder. Over reaching for something can compound problems further by trapping part of the shoulder capsule. You might also feel tension and pain in the elbow and forearm as further trapping affects other muscles.

Be aware however that Frozen Shoulder seems to involve other medical factors which your Doctor should investigate and take into consideration. Sufferers of diabetes, neurological illnesses, inflammatory arthritis and hypothyroidism have increased risk of this condition.

Frozen Shoulder usually progresses in stages – 3 years in total is typical:-

  • Freezing: Inflammation in the shoulder joint lining results in scar tissue forming which restricts the shoulder movement. Lasts 2-9 months.
  • Frozen: Stickiness and lack of movement in the joint causes adhesions so that the upper arm bone doesn’t run smoothly in its socket. Lasts 4-9 months.
  • Thawing: Movement gradually returns. Lasts 5 months to 2 years.


Whilst suffering with the condition, it’s important not to do movement that causes pain and to keep your shoulder moving. You must not “power through the pain” as this will exacerbate the condition.

Painkillers and anti-inflammatories will be necessary but discuss these aspects with your Doctor.  Physiotherapy is usually essential in achieving the right balance. If you are continuing to work then taking steps to protect it and not cause further damage are important.

Return to Shoulder Pain page and read now what you should do for your working environment