Frozen shoulder is diagnosed by testing positive to three characteristics:
- Insidious onset of severe pain over a period of months, night time pain is a common feature
- Shoulder stiffness with markedly reduced external rotation
- Negative radiographic findings
Some patients describe the pain as a deep ache, poorly localised and non specific without any point of tenderness. In others it presents as a pain which refers to the deltoid origin and radiates down to the bicep area. Manual testing will often return normal rotator cuff strength but a greatly reduced passive and active range of motion.
In some cases laboratory tests may be carried out to identify or rule out underlying conditions. Radiographs of the shoulder will also return normal with a patient suffering from frozen shoulder, but may be carried out to exclude conditions such as shoulder dislocation, GH arthritis or calcific tendinopathy.