3 Phases of Frozen Shoulder and How to Deal With It, Even in Menopause

Along with the hot flashes, brain fog, and mood swings of menopause, you may also experience a condition called frozen shoulder. Frozen shoulder can be painful and limiting, but there are ways to manage it. 

There are three phases of frozen shoulder. If you can identify which phase you’re in, you can better manage it and improve your quality of life. 

In this post, we’ll discuss frozen shoulder’s relationship to menopause, the three phases of frozen shoulder and how to deal with each phase. 

What is Frozen Shoulder and Why Does It Strike During Menopause?

Frozen shoulder (also known as adhesive capsulitis) is marked by pain and stiffness in the shoulder. It usually develops slowly, and can get worse over time. It affects women over the age of 40 more than people in any other age group. 

Although it can’t be said that menopause causes frozen shoulder, there’s evidence that the physical and hormonal changes of menopause create a perfect storm for frozen shoulder to develop.

Three Phases of Frozen Shoulder and How to Know What Phase You’re In

There are three phases of frozen shoulder, and each has its own symptoms. Knowing what phase you’re in can help you make better choices about treatments.

Phase 1: The Freezing Phase

The first phase of frozen shoulder is the freezing phase. In this phase, the pain gradually increases. It is often worse at night making it difficult to sleep. It may be constant or intermittent. 

You may have difficulty moving your arm, especially when trying to reach overhead or behind your back. Increased stiffness may make it difficult to perform normal daily activities such as brushing your hair or reaching into a cupboard. This phase usually lasts for two to nine months.

Phase 2: The Frozen Phase

The second phase is the frozen phase. Shoulder pain may remain constant or lessen. However, the stiffness remains, and may even worsen. This phase typically lasts for four to 12 months.

Phase 3: The Thawing Phase

The final phase is the thawing phase. The pain decreases and there’s a gradual improvement in range of motion until you regain full use of your arm. This phase typically lasts for six to 24 months. 

Getting Back to Normal After Frozen Shoulder

The good news is the pain will eventually go away and most women regain all (or most) of their range of motion with time and the right treatment. Once you zero in on what phase you’re in, go here to learn more about treatment options, exercises, and home remedies that can help.

Disclaimer: This information is provided for educational purposes. It is not medical advice. Please consult with your doctor before making changes that affect your health.

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