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What happens if a frozen shoulder is not treated?

Frozen Shoulder

If left untreated a frozen shoulder can result in damage to the neurons, and cartilage, limited mobility in the shoulder and scapula, and pain in the neck, upper back, and arms. To address a frozen shoulder all components of the joint need to be considered.


In this article, I will cover 5 consequences of leaving a frozen shoulder untreated.


1. Frozen Shoulder can cause dull or acute pain

The pain may be accompanied by a “cracking sound” originating at the back of the shoulder. The pain/discomfort is often exaggerated during movement which may restrict exercise and performing daily movements.


2. Frozen Shoulders can be linked to neurological damage

Stiff shoulders may be due to or cause a neurological disfunction (ref). There are 5 neurons that feed the shoulder and arm: musculocutaneous, axillary, radial, median, and ulnar nerves. In such cases, unless the recovery of the neurons is supported, the underlying problem will be untreated and subsequently get exaggerated.


3. Frozen shoulder will cause stiffness

The inability of the shoulder joint to move freely will cause stiffness in the muscles that support it but potentially also in the lower and middle back, neck and wrist. The reason for that can be traced to the compromised function of the fascia.


4. Frozen shoulder will limit lymphatic drainage

Lymphatic drainage depends on our ability to move. Our extremities are the most mobile parts of our body and their movement results in circulation of the lymphatic fluid, ultimately allowing bacteria and toxins to be excreted from the body. Immobile shoulders may compromise the function of the lymphatic system and thus contribute to the accumulation of toxicity.


5. Chondrolysis can cause frozen shoulder

Chondrolysis is a rapidly progressive loss of articular cartilage and can be diagnosed with arthroscopy. Chondrolysis is more likely to occur after an operation.



Frozen shoulder can: (a) be caused due to a number of reasons & (b) compromise multiple functions in the body if left untreated. Addressing it early with a protocol that includes: mobility, strength, nerve recovery, and supplementation to support the healing process can prevent further complications.