Maryanne Sterling

Maryanne Sterling

Maryanne Sterling, 54, Frozen Shoulder

How would you explain frozen shoulder to a child?

Frozen shoulder is a condition that largely impacts women in their 50s. Scientists don’t understand why, but when our hormone levels drop due to menopause, one or both of our shoulder joints can become very painful and stop working, so we lose the ability to use our arms normally… for example, raising an arm above our heads. It becomes very difficult to do simple things… like brushing your hair or teeth… or reaching for a drinking glass in the kitchen cabinet.  

What would you want the world to know about frozen shoulder?

This is a debilitating chronic condition potentially impacting millions of women (and some men!). There is little research on what causes it… no helpful treatments… and the typical prognosis is: “it will resolve itself in 2-3 years.” For most people impacted by frozen shoulder, physical therapy and other “standard” treatments recommended by healthcare providers today actually make the condition worse instead of better. In addition, there is no medication that reduces the pain level, which is caused by the adhesions that form in the joint causing it to “lock.” To add insult to injury, many healthcare providers have never heard of this condition… leading to long delays and frustration in getting correctly diagnosed… and often misdiagnosed. 

What does it feel like to live with frozen shoulder? 

Women who live with frozen shoulder experience severe pain and discomfort 24x7 over the course of YEARS and it can recur in the same shoulder or move from one shoulder to the other. It completely changes your life and can impact: activities of daily living, your job, participation in your favorite sports or social activities, financial stability, mental health, and your ability to sleep. The worst part: it’s an invisible condition that many healthcare providers are happy to tell you is “all in your head”, diminishing the reality that you are forced to endure, alone, 24 hours a day.

What brings you joy?

Spending time with my husband, in the mountains, on a great hike… letting mother nature help me heal… after 2.5 years living with frozen shoulder.

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