MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — At the State Fair, she joked about it.

“I just want to say, warn you again, I have a frozen shoulder,” Amelia said.

But it really wasn’t funny. The feeling in Amelia’s shoulder was unlike anything she’d felt before.

“It was so painful,” she said. “I can’t explain the amount of pain it took for me to even put it up like this. It got so bad, I thought it was my back and there was something going on with that and there was a pinched nerve of some sort.”

“Adhesive capsulitis is the medical name for it and it’s just commonly known as ‘frozen shoulder,'” Dr. Frank Norberg said.

“It feels like their arm is stuck and they can’t get past this position. And it’s not frozen like cold, but frozen like when something gets stuck in one spot.”

Norberg is an orthopedic surgeon and a shoulder specialist at Twin Cities Orthopedics.

He diagnosed Amelia’s condition and recommended the most common and effective treatment, physical therapy.

“The capsule of the joint, or the space that encloses the joint of your shoulder, shrinks down and gradually over time first becomes inflamed and then it tightens up, and starts blocking motion in every direction,” he said

And causing pain.

“It can be so bad that some people get tears in their eyes or drop to their knees,” Norberg said.

“Most commonly you are going to see it in middle age people, more commonly in women than men, usually in that 40 to 60 age old group.”

Norberg says it’s not clear what causes frozen shoulder but doctors do know what helps — physical therapy sessions and stretching at home. Over time the body corrects itself.

“By doing gradual and repetitive exercises, just for the stretching, you can regain range of motion,” Norberg said. “And with that you also usually see decreased symptoms.”

Frozen shoulder typically lasts 18 to 24 months.

“I can still feel it every once in a while though here,” Amelia said. “But hopefully through time and continuing physical therapy it will go away.”

Norberg says he sees two or three new frozen shoulder patients a week.

Cortisone shots and anti-inflammatory medications like ibuprofen are also treatment options. He says surgery is rarely necessary.

He also said people who have diabetes have a higher risk of developing a frozen shoulder than others.

Comments (6)
  1. I’m also struggle with diabetes. I actually read an article about diabetes curing diet and it seemed like the person had great success so I gave it a try. I couldn’t have been more excited about the results, as I am now 50 pounds lighter than when I first started using it. The article was very helpful to me — if you want to check it out yourself you can read it here http://curediabetespro.gq/

  2. Craig Wilson says:

    I believe I have/had the same. Doctors here couldn’t figure it out and passed it off as on-start arthritis. It started off as an ache and I thought it was from sleeping wrong. It got worse and I tried to position myself correctly in bed. The pain increased to the point any movement, picking something up,carry grocery bags was very painful. Then I threw a rock into the lake and thought I was going to die. It was the worst pain I had every experienced. I about fell to my knees with pain. It’s been 6 months and the worse is behind me, I hope.Thanks Amelia for sharing I will return to the doctor with this information.

  3. I had it in my left shoulder for a year and a half. Now my right shoulder is showing signs. Doctor is ordering x-rays which will show nothing. Next will be a pricey MRI, followed by PT which many question its helpfulness and wonder if it just adds to the pain. All I can do is cry in frustration. I suggests those who suffer with FS to join a facebook group page.

  4. All three of you should get out protesting more often. Holding up those signs and threatening passersby and motorists will limber you right up. You will be throwing rocks bottles and bricks with the best of them here in the Socialist Welfare Village in no time.

  5. Suze Hochban says:

    I too have went through the whole big frozen shoulder misery for over a year. My orthopedic specialist was wanting too do surgery when I knew that surgery was too extreme. I was half way too getting back to the normal movements according too my physical therapist. My physical therapist and I agreed why would I want surgery when I have gotten this far already. It’s a known fact that surgery will set you back too the very beginning and this specialist of mine did not admit that, but I listened too myself and worked very hard too getting back too the 100 percent usage. And I did succeed with patience, and boat loads of hard work, committing to this.
    I had so much pain the year of 2010, a day before thanksgiving that I did end up getting the cortisone injection. That injection was right in the bone of my left shoulder. It was the worse pain, but it helped within hours. I cried everytime that I tried to get dressed. Now I help and educate other people with my experience as Amelia Santanello did. Great article and keep up the exercise. Computers are the enemy and reasons why we end up with this frozen shoulder.
    Take many breaks, stretch, reach your arms above your head several times each day. Suzanne Hochban Circle Pines, Mn 55014