You can tell when you have frozen shoulder by these symptoms

These are typical symptoms

A frozen shoulder can show itself through the following symptoms:

  • Strong pain

  • Gradually increasing restriction of movement, which at some point turns into a maximum restriction of movement ("frozen shoulder"),

  • Limitation of movement in all levels of movement due to the severe pain and

  • Nocturnal pain.

Read more on this topic at: Frozen shoulder


Pain is the typical and first symptom that precedes a frozen shoulder. This pain can occur weeks to months before the actual shoulder frozen. In the beginning there is usually slight pain, which gets worse over time. Those affected usually describe the pain as deep in the shoulder joint and dull. The pain can initially radiate into the arm when the shoulder is still flexible. As the pain progresses, the intensity of the pain increases so much that it gradually restricts movement.

Read more on this topic at: Shoulder pain

Pain at night

Night pain is most common in the first phase of frozen shoulder. These pains are also known as resting pains and are mainly felt when the person concerned is lying on the sore shoulder. Since the first phase of frozen shoulder can drag on for months, disturbed sleep is very stressful for those affected and can severely reduce the quality of life.

Appointment with a shoulder specialist

I would be happy to advise you!

Who am I?
My name is Carmen Heinz. I am a specialist in orthopedics and trauma surgery in the specialist team of .

The shoulder joint is one of the most complicated joints in the human body.

The treatment of the shoulder (rotator cuff, impingement syndrome, calcified shoulder (tendinosis calcarea, biceps tendon, etc.) therefore requires a lot of experience.
I treat a wide variety of shoulder diseases in a conservative way.
The aim of any therapy is treatment with full recovery without surgery.
Which therapy achieves the best results in the long term can only be determined after looking at all of the information (Examination, X-ray, ultrasound, MRI, etc.) be assessed.

You can find me in:

  • Lumedis - your orthopedic surgeon
    Kaiserstrasse 14
    60311 Frankfurt am Main

Directly to the online appointment arrangement
Unfortunately, it is currently only possible to make an appointment with private health insurers. I hope for your understanding!
You can find more information about myself at Carmen Heinz.

Stiffening of mobility

The stiffening of mobility takes place gradually and can drag on for several months. Due to the pain that exists at the beginning, mobility in the shoulder is increasingly restricted, as the affected person is gentle on the shoulder due to the unpleasant pain. Then, for example, at the beginning only the stretching of the arm forwards or backwards is restricted.

As the pain gets worse, the protection of the shoulder increases. By protecting the shoulder, the joint capsule shrinks after a while, which means that the mobility of the shoulder is maximally restricted in all planes of movement and the shoulder is literally frozen.

Read about the treatment options for frozen shoulder: This is how a frozen shoulder is treated

Can you see something on the outside of your shoulder?

In general, external signs are not visible. Since there are usually no external symptoms, those affected are usually not taken seriously by the environment. If the shoulder has become stiff due to inflammation, typical signs of inflammation may initially be visible from the outside. On the one hand, this includes reddening of the shoulder and the surrounding area. On the other hand - but rarely occurring - swelling can occur around the shoulder joint.

If the shoulder has been restricted or unable to move for a long time, the muscles may atrophy (Muscular atrophy) come. This is noticeable, for example, when both shoulders are compared in shape or the affected shoulder muscles look sunken.

Information about all treatment options in the context of a frozen shoulder can be found at: This is how a frozen shoulder is treated

Symptoms of the 1st phase

The first phase is also known as “freezing”. This phase can last two to nine months. This leads to a slight inflammation of the joint capsule and increasing pain, which further restricts mobility. Restriction of movement is not yet in the foreground in this phase. This phase is also accompanied by nocturnal pain or pain at rest.

2nd phase symptoms

The second phase is also known as “being frozen”. The capsule shrinkage of the joint capsule causes the symptoms. The shoulder movement is restricted to a maximum in all directions. The pain continues to subside during this phase. The restricted movement also leads to a reduction in the muscles (muscle atrophy), which can be visually noticeable.

3rd phase symptoms

The “thawing” of the shoulder determines the third phase of frozen shoulder. This ultimately reduces the inflammation of the capsule, although the joint capsule remains smaller. The restriction of movement is also gradually decreasing. However, this process can take several years. In order to prevent permanent restrictions on movement and loss of strength, the thawing of the shoulder should be accompanied by physiotherapy.