Prednisone for Frozen Shoulders?

I am always looking for “miracle cures” for adhesive capsulitis/frozen shoulders and I got so excited when I came across papers that supported the use of oral prednisone to “cure” frozen shoulders (FS).


The theory is that oral prednisone can reduce the inflammatory process and result in more rapid recovery from FS.


This systematic review from 2006 concluded that based on only 2 placebo-controlled trials a three week course of 30mg prednisolone daily provided significant short-term benefits in pain, ROM and function in adhesive capsulitis but the effects were not maintained beyond six weeks.


Surprizingly, after 6 weeks the patients in the placebo group had significantly less pain and disability.


In a nutshell, oral steroids are not the miracle FS cure.


Here is a quote from the paper, “… considering the risks of this steroid, it does not appear to be worth the risks to treat a condition that gets better with physical therapy.”

I agree!


Oral prednisone possible side effects:

  • Insomnia   /  mood changes (irritability, anger)
  • weight gain /acne /skin bruising
  • headaches /dizziness     /abdominal pain/ retc.

…you know what, it’s better to deal with just a frozen shoulder!!


I have personally found positive results with PNF pattern exercises that I do on my patients with FS!

Reference: Buchbinder R1, et al Oral steroids for adhesive capsulitis. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2006 Oct 18;(4):CD006189.

Prednisone for Frozen Shoulders?

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