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Frozen Shoulder Treatment

Physiotherapy > Conditions > Frozen Shoulder

Also known as adhesive capsulitis, this is a condition where the tissues surrounding the shoulder joint become inflamed and tight, causing pain and restriction in movements of the shoulder.

Frozen Shoulder happens in 3 stages:


  • Pain is worst at this stage. The shoulder does not feel very stiff but it becomes too painful to move the shoulder.
  • This stage usually lasts between 6-12 weeks.


  • Pain is reduced but the shoulder feels stiff and tight. Daily activities such as combing the hair or scratching the back may be difficult.
  • This stage usually lasts between 4-6 months.


  • The shoulder starts to feel less stiff and gradual return of shoulder motion is expected.
  • This stage can usually take anywhere between 6 months to 2 years.


  • The primary cause is still unknown.
  • Frozen shoulder usually affects those between 40-60 years of age. Women have an increased risk as compared to men.
  • Previous shoulder injury or surgery puts you at risk of developing frozen shoulder.
  • Several medical conditions increase the risk of developing a frozen shoulder, such as diabetes, hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, Parkinson’s Disease and obesity.

Common Signs and Symptoms

  • Dull or achy pain and stiffness around the shoulder joint.
  • Difficulty in daily activities such as reaching overhead, combing the hair, reaching for the back pocket or hooking bra.
  • Most often, sleeping on the affected shoulder brings on discomfort.

How can a Physiotherapist help?

  • Identifying the stage of the condition is important as different stages require different approaches to deal with the symptoms. Whilst an X-Ray/MRI/Ultrasound scan can help with the diagnosis, it is not an absolute necessity. Coupled with a good record of past symptoms, our physiotherapists can carry out a physical examination to accurately identify the stage that the patient is suffering from.
  • Depending on the severity of condition, our physiotherapists can customize and guide you in managing the condition. If pain medications, injections and anti-inflammatory drugs are needed to manage the pain (especially in the Freezing Stage), we can refer you to a doctor to get the necessary treatment.
  • Physiotherapy sessions comprise of stretching and manual therapy which can improve the range of motion, especially during the Frozen and Thawing Stages. In addition, the physiotherapist can advise on exercises to achieve good posture, and modification of activities to better manage the condition. Exercises will also be given to help you improve any further range or strength deficits you may have.

Let our physiotherapists help you with your condition.

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