Frozen Shoulder

Frozen shoulder also known as adhesive capsulitis is idiopathic in nature and is characterized by reduced mobility in the shoulder and pain upon movement, sometimes with numbness or tingling of the upper limb in segments below the shoulder joint due to inflammation or tearing of the shoulder capsule.

Due to the tearing the shoulder capsule thickens, swells and tightens due to bands of scar tissue (adhesions) that have formed inside the capsule thus restricting movement and causing pain.

Frozen shoulder is characterized by three stages:

  1. Freezing – Which is characterized by pain and moderate stiffness, especially in the mornings.

  2. Frozen – Characterized by slow improvement of pain but range motion continues to reduce

  3. Thawing- Shoulder range of motion begins to to return to normal

Risk factors:

Frozen shoulder is idiopathic in nature. However those who have sustained a shoulder injury and does not maintain shoulder range of motion is likely to have frozen shoulder.

Clinical signs:

Unable to do daily tasks because of shoulder movement restriction or pain. Particularly in shoulder flexion, abduction and functional internal rotation.


Pain, reduced range of motion, swelling inflammation, numbness, tingling, loss of sensation.


Shoulder mobility exercises, Shoulder glides, pendular exercises, shoulder traction, ultrasound, heat therapy, cryotherapy.


Can take anywhere between 6months to 2 years for full recovery without treatment. However with the correct physiotherapy treatment, each stage of frozen shoulder can be treated and thus progressed through quicker than the usual pace of self healing.

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Christian Theseira

Christian Theseira

Physiotherapist at Physio Savvy
Christian Theseira qualified with a bachelor of physiotherapy from Manipal University India after completing a 3 year diploma locally at MAHSA university. His keen interest in the human body began when he served Celebrity Fitness as a personal trainer. Wanting a better understanding of the human physiology and mechanics, he explored the science of physiotherapy where his interests lead him in to the field of neurological rehab. In addition, he has also written a thesis in the field.
Christian Theseira

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Posted in Musculoskeletal Disorders.