Frozen shoulder how long off work?

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I was diagnosed with a frozen shoulder 10 days ago, and advised to rest it as much as possible, I am a professional dog walker so am not able to work at the moment, this is my 2nd week off, just wondering how long I can expect to be off work?

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  • Posted

    The amount of time a frozen shoulder takes from beginning (freezing) to end (complete thaw) is different for everyone. Typically somewhere between 6 months up to 18 months without doing any manipulation (freeing up by doctor).

    You may already be into a frozen shoulder 3 months by now, but it all depends on how far you are into the whole process. I chose MUA (manipulation under anesthesia) at the frozen stage and then went through physical therapy to get motion and strength back for a couple of months. I felt this sped the process along well for me. But, it is not chosen by everyone as there are risks. Best of luck you you.

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  • Posted

    Hi Maxine,

    I'm sorry for your shoulder pain! My response to you is based on watching my then middle aged Mom do exercises at home that slowly rehabilitated a frozen shoulder, then years later getting a shoulder injury (I don't remember what of hundreds of activities it was that hurt it as I was a very busy Mom of 4 kids) where I saw a rapid decreasing mobility of my left shoulder and tried to ice and rest it, propping it at night so it wouldn't move...it was excruciating. After finally seeing a doctor, she sent me to an Orthopedist. Thank God, this doctor was honest. She told me it was a frozen shoulder and that she could manipulate it in surgery while I was under general or I could exercise at home. I chose the latter along with a steroid injection into the site (reduced inflammation?). I did the extremely painful what I call 'bowling ball' exercises religiously as I was desperate to feel better sooner and avoid surgery. The doctor had me come back in two weeks to see how I was doing I think convinced I wouldn't be able to do the exercises.

    She said to "pretend you are holding a bowling ball and throw your arm forward and up and (pretend you are still holding it as you swing up) and around, releasing it with your thumb facing forward as you would a bowling ball, then scratch your shoulder (don't forget this last part as for some reason it releases the stretch or strain). I couldn't fathom doing surgery where a doctor would put me out so they could rip through the scarring that had formed in my shoulder joint due to my own purposeful holding it in a passive position to avoid a further injury to that spot..."So, you mean I basically did this to myself?" I asked my doctor. She said that basically yes and that I had three choices: wait (not an option...too long and painful), the exercise (mentioned above) or surgery. When I returned two weeks or so later (2ish weeks when the appointment could be set) I triumphantly showed her the movement I now had in that shoulder following the freeing exercise I did at home.

    The only way I was able to do it was realizing it would hurt but would avoid surgery. Following her advice I did this exercise. I also asked one of my kids to gently lift this arm while I lay flat on a bed. I found this was a little helpful. I iced the shoulder after each exercise and after my daughter tried to lift the arm. I had to stand against the shower wall and use the slick tile, a purposeful lean against it, the warm water and painful determination to throw my arm up towards the bathroom ceiling leaning more and more on that side as over a week or so I could finally go up and over with that arm. Before that I really couldn't lift my arm above a 25 to 30 degree angle.

    I suggest you present this to an orthopedic doctor and ask if they've heard of this exercise and ask if it is right for your particular situation or not. Shoulders are a complex joint with lots of muscular and other connections. Scarring following injury is the bodies way to attempt to heal the area. However it creates immobility (and the inflammatory response to the injury creates pain).

    I'm no doctor. I researched about the joint, the injury and was still surprised by my doctor's steroid shot (I believe it did start the loosening process) and the exercise she suggested when I finally saw the ortho doctor. I forgot to mention that my gp srnt me to a physical therapist first who assessed me and during the assessment she said I had to try to lift my arm and that there was no way it was as painful as I seemed to be pretending. I was humiliated and left feeling frustrated and somewhat angry first at myself for somehow not cooperating and perhaps playacting my pain, then at her thinking this was after all a professional physical therapist and hadn't she ever worked with someone with a frozen shoulder that was too painful to rotate?

    My gp sent me then to the Orthopedist and I finally got the advice and help I needed.

    I wish you a healthy recovery. Don't give up. Please see a doctor again to see if there is a way to do an exercise that will speed recovery and get all your options so you can decide what is best for you.

    -Best,

    Christine

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    • Posted

      Thank you, I have just started doing physio exercises this week and do have a bit more movement, and not as much pain but I'm concerned about going back to work too soon and making it worse 😕

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    • Posted

      With my first frosho my greyhound jumped at a squirrel and yanked my arm. I literally sat in the street crying. However, after that I actually had a bit more range of motion, so she did me a favor. Who needs surgery to break up adhesions when you've got dogs!

      You'll have to be the judge of when you feel like you can get back to work. Maybe walk one dog at a time with your good arm?

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    • Posted

      Totally understand. I couldn't take off work at all. I used Tylenol and ice, especially at night to help get to sleep. That deep heavy pain is like no other pain, especially when it radiates down your arm. It's invisible to everyone else but it becomes the central thought "How can I feel better?" until it starts to diminish. The day I didn't feel the pain anymore was fantastic! Hang in there!!

      -Christine

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    • Posted

      Thank you, I've been off work for almost 2 weeks, and my clients have been so understanding but I'm aware that being self employed means I can't stay off for long, but it is a case off taking it day by day, I'm hoping to have another week off then go back to work, but I'm also worried about going back too soon and making it worse 😕

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    • Posted

      I'm managing to walk my own dog because he doesn't pull, really not sure I could manage 2 at the moment, I've not tried driving again yet, so not sure I can even get to the dogs I walk, so I guess that will be the first test?! 😕

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    • Posted

      Once you're out of the freezing stage it won't be as painful. No more awful zingers that throw you to the ground cursing and crying. The frozen stage will let you get a bit more rest as well. But you won't have any range of motion. My freezing stage lasted about 6/8 weeks. The whole thing will take about 18 months to completely resolve. FS is just awful.

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    • Posted

      suzanne54.

      I have been off work with F/S since July. I was just getting to the stage where i was thinking of returning to work when i saw a specialist who move my arms and neck about so much i have had pain since. Iam hoping left alone they will settle again and i can try to work again.

      I find just resting them helps them to recover.

      so could i just leave all the physio and let them heal on their own.

      Thank you

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    • Posted

      Yes, you can absolutely just leave it be and it will resolve on its own unless you have an actual injury to it. In my experience and talking to so many people on FB about it, FS alone just needs to run its course. I think you will be OK going back to work once the pain settles down again and I think it will.

      Just be careful the dogs aren't yanking on your shoulder. Look in to those leashes that go around your waist. That may help especially if you are walking multiple dogs.

      Good luck! XO

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  • Posted

    Hi Maxine,

    Sorry to hear you have frosho. Welcome to my world. I'm on my second one. There's an amazing community on Facebook you can join. Check it out..

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