How long does a frozen Shoulder last ???
Firstly, "frozen Shoulder" itself is a misnomer. It means nothing more than a stiff shoulder. There are numerous reasons for a stiff shoulder. These could be largely degenerative - due to the Rotator cuff muscles become weak and inflammed, a tear of the ligaments, or nerve compression which could render the rotator cuff or serratus anterior muscle weak or incompetent. A more precise diagnosis as a cause of the stiff shoulder needs to be made. The term "frozen Shoulder" is now considered outdated.
In the absence of a tear of the muscle (read rotator cuff) or ligaments (read labrum) rehab is usually the first choice of treatment. We practice a fairly aggressive rehab programme without any heat modality. At our clinic we advise a two-week supervised phase I rehab programme followed by a 4-week phase II home programme. A majority of the patients are cured by this time.
In the past & more conservative practices, patients were advised to grin & bear the stiff shoulder for a year after which it was alleged that it would settle down.
If the improvement is not perceived at the end of two weeks patients are best advised to undergo a MRI scan to rule out alternative pathology which could be more serious in nature such as either a rotator cuff tear (in the elderly) or in extreme cases even malignancy of the tissues around the shoulder.