Can Physiotherapy Help Frozen Shoulders?

1 Jul, 2022

Frozen shoulder is a painful condition that can reduce a person’s quality of life significantly. It often causes pain and stiffness in the shoulder and will require physiotherapy treatment to speed up the recovery process.

Here’s everything you need to know about how physiotherapy can help with frozen shoulder.

What Is a Frozen Shoulder?

Frozen shoulder (also known as adhesive capsulitis) is a condition where the joint capsule in the shoulder shrinks before it thickens, which leads to extreme pain and stuffiness. It is usually caused by inflammation and fibrotic adhesions which limit shoulder movements significantly.

Your shoulder has 3 main bones that form the shoulder joint, and the tissue that holds them all together is called the shoulder capsule. With a frozen shoulder, the capsule becomes thicker, making it harder to move.

However, the exact causes why the tissue that surrounds the shoulder joint hardens aren’t fully understood. There are some risk factors, such as diabetes, metabolic conditions, and people over the age of 40 have an increased risk of frozen shoulder as well.

People often confuse frozen shoulders with a rotator cuff injury. The major difference is the amount of pain, loss of shoulder function, and amount of stiffness.

Frozen Shoulder | Gen Physio

How Can You Tell If You Have a Frozen Shoulder?

Frozen shoulder makes it almost impossible to move the shoulder at all. The loss of motion is much greater than rotator cuff injuries, and the pain is usually worse at night.

Frozen shoulder often presents in 3 stages:


1. Freezing

It presents with some shoulder pain and stiffness, and it can last for a long period of time, even as much as 9 months

2. Frozen

This stage presents with the most stiffness, and sees a massive reduction in the motion in the shoulder.

3. Thawing

This is the stage where the frozen shoulder symptoms diminish and can take even a year or more to regain shoulder mobility. Seeing a physiotherapist can greatly speed up the process.

How Is Frozen Shoulder Treated?

Treatment can vary depending on the stage you’re in. For instance, if you’re in Phase 1, it’s generally recommended to opt for pain relief medication and even cortisone injections to manage your symptoms.

Physical therapy for frozen shoulders usually starts in Phases 2 and 3, but there are certain exercises people can do to prevent the condition from progressing while in stage 1. If you’re experiencing the beginning of a frozen shoulder, speak to a physiotherapist about your treatment options.

Physiotherapy helps frozen shoulder | Gen Physio

How Does a Physiotherapist Treat a Frozen Shoulder?

Physical therapy for frozen shoulder often involves a variety of different exercises meant to relieve pain and help patients regain a full range of motion in their shoulder.

These exercises may include:

  • Strengthening exercises
  • Stretching exercises
  • Improve posture
  • Pain relief methods
  • Massages, etc.

The types of exercises you need generally depend on your specific case, such as the grade of frozen shoulder you’re experiencing.

A physiotherapy specialist will thoroughly examine your shoulder and determine whether it’s indeed frozen shoulder, or if there is another cause for the stiffness in the shoulder.

How Gen Physio Can Help

We understand how frustrating frozen shoulders can be. The physiotherapist at Gen Physio can provide expert care for this condition directly at your home.

Reach out online to book a mobile physiotherapy appointment!

You may also like…