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Medication for Frozen Shoulder

At NYU Langone, our doctors sometimes prescribe medication to relieve pain and reduce inflammation associated with frozen shoulder. Medication may be used along with physical therapy to reduce inflammation and improve range of motion in the affected shoulder and arm.

Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs, can relieve shoulder pain by reducing inflammation in the shoulder joint. Ibuprofen and naproxen are two NSAIDs doctors commonly recommend.

If over-the-counter NSAIDs don’t relieve your pain, your doctor may prescribe a stronger dose for weeks or months.

Corticosteroid Injections

During the first phase of frozen shoulder, which lasts three to six months, your doctor may recommend an injection into the shoulder. This is made up of two medications: a corticosteroid, which temporarily reduces inflammation and improves range of motion, and an anesthetic called lidocaine, which reduces pain. Relief can last for weeks or months.

Before the injection, your doctor numbs the area with a local anesthetic. Our pain management specialists and radiologists use X-ray guidance to ensure the proper administration of the injection into the shoulder joint.

The procedure takes less than 30 minutes. You may feel slight tenderness at the injection site for a day or two afterward.

Our Research and Education in Frozen Shoulder in Adults

Learn more about our research and professional education opportunities.