How to Know if You Have Frozen Shoulder

Dr. Gaurav Gupta is an Orthopaedic surgeon in CMRI and he helps understand the increasing problem of a ‘Frozen Shoulder’. Dr Gupta is part of a highly skilled and renowned orthopaedic team that helps in managing and navigating, complicated and challenging shoulder issues in patients.


Dr. Gupta says that only one of ten patients who come to him complaining of ‘Frozen Shoulder’ issues actually have one. Most have other shoulder issues that get erroneously tagged as a Frozen Shoulder. He highlights that due to these generalisations in diagnosis, shoulder problems maybe mistreated on several occasions.  Some of the other problems that tend to be diagnosed as a Frozen Shoulder maybe bicep tendinopathy, sub acromial impingement, rotator cuff tear, shoulder arthritis, AC joint arthritis are sometimes diagnosed as Frozen Shoulder. Therefore, the chosen line of treatment can instead ruin the chances of cure. Diagnosis is an integral part of the treatment and if ignored can eventually lead to a Frozen Shoulder.

What should you do?

Therefore, it is imperative that patients with shoulder problems visit an orthopaedic specialist with skills and training in shoulder management. The doctor will examine the patient clinically and follow it up with investigations like, X-Rays and MRI scans if required. If a thorough course of diagnosis is followed one would find that only 1 out 10 actually suffer from Frozen Shoulder or Adhesive Capsulitis of shoulder and this enable determination of the correct problem.

In the case of an actual frozen shoulder the first line of management is regular and appropriate exercise. Most patients see positive results from this. If exercises don’t help, the doctor usually suggests arthroscopic surgery – a keyhole procedure which helps the shoulder to move towards betterment.

The other patients usually suffer from shoulder impingements or rotator cuff issues etc and their line of treatment are very different. Patients may require rehab physiotherapy or arthroscopic surgery. For those with gross shoulder arthritis, arthroscopic surgery will not be beneficial as these patients may require shoulder replacement. Traditionally shoulder replacement used to be a ‘hemi’ i.e. a half shoulder replacement then with medical evolution. It moved to total shoulder replacement which changes both the ball and the socket part of the shoulder. CMRI also conducts reverse shoulder replacements with those who have arthritis coupled with a rotator cuff problem. In a reverse shoulder replacement, the ball of the joint is replaced with a socket and vice versa.

Do low temperatures accentuate shoulder problems?

A common belief is that low temperatures affect shoulder problems. Dr Gupta clarifies that climatic changes usually don’t have any impact on shoulder problems. Shoulder problems on the other hand may be grouped into young, middle-aged and old depending on the age group in which they are most common.

It is important to understand the cause and nature of a shoulder problem to treat it correctly. This can only be done with the help of a skilled orthopaedic specialist.

Dr. Gourav Gupta
Dr. Gourav Gupta

Department of Orthopaedics & Joint Replacement