Frozen Shoulder (Adhesive Capsulitis)

Frozen shoulder is a condition many of you will have heard about but often the symptoms are often mistaken for different conditions.

What is it?

Frozen shoulder is a condition that can develop after many months of pain and discomfort. It is also characterised with significantly reduced active movement, particularly shoulder flexion / abduction & external rotation. Although the cause of it is not clearly understood, it is known that the symptoms occur due to a progressive inflammation and thickening of the shoulder joint capsule. 

It is also more prevalent in people over the age of 50, women and those with diabetes. 

There are 3 phases associated with Frozen shoulder:

  • Freezing – high levels of pain and range of movement of affected shoulder begins to reduce
  • Frozen – pain subsides as a whole but shoulder range of movement is now greatly impaired.
  • Thawing – range of movement begins to return.

Overall, this process can last up to 18 months and is notoriously painful and can limit function. 

There is no gold standard treatment for Frozen shoulder, however there are many ways a physiotherapist can assist with education and monitoring of it. 

Role of a physiotherapist in the management of frozen shoulder:

  • Range of movement exercises performed by yourself (active range) and passive range performed by your therapist to ensure maximal stretch is obtained. During the freezing and frozen stage of the condition it is essential to maximise the range of movement you have within the shoulder. 
  • Neck stretches – to ensure surrounding muscles to shoulder do not get tight due to the lack of shoulder movement
  • Soft tissue massage – to reduce tightness and maximise surrounding muscles and reduce pain and discomfort.
  • Strengthening exercises are performed once range of movement starts to return as your shoulder will be weaker secondary to loss of movement


For more information, get in touch with Get Moving Physio now! 

If you would like to know more or to arrange your appointment with us, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with the team at Get Moving Physio today! Our physiotherapy services are unrivalled, from fall prevention therapy, to frailty therapy, and sports therapy, we have everything you could need for a well rounded physiotherapy treatment! Reach out to us!