De-frosting Frozen Shoulder

Frozen Shoulder, also known as Adhesive Capsulitis, is something we see a lot of at Health Moves Physiotherapy in Edwardstown and Mawson Lakes Physiotherapy.

Frozen Shoulder sounds unpleasant. Ask anyone who’s had one and they’ll agree it is. It also takes a long time to resolve; one to two years is common.   The frozen part in the name refers to the all round stiffness in the shoulder movements. It’s painful too, particularly in the early stage which can last a few months. The pain is felt over the shoulder or down the arm. Sometimes with pins and needles in the hand, or hot or cold feelings.


How You Might Get One

Frozen Shoulder can seem to start for no reason but it often will follow a strain to the shoulder or after a fall. We know that there are a few factors that can contribute to developing this condition. One is stiffness in a joint close to the shoulder, such as in the upper thoracic spine or neck, another is being aged over 40. Those with diabetes or cardiovascular disease are also more at risk.

The good news is that they nearly always get completely better. The majority of the pain settles in a few months, and the shoulder frees up gradually over time. Generally they resolve over 1 to 2 years. While this fact may be initially a shock to the patient, it can also be reassuring to know that eventually it will go away.



Physiotherapy can help free up stiff joints and tight soft tissue structures. The physiotherapist can also help develop a program of exercises.

Other options include having a corticosteroid injection to the subacromial bursa. And this may be worth a try to ease some of the pain, but I think that since there are several factors involved in the condition it is unlikely to achieve much, particularly in the long term. Another technique using corticosteroid is a capsular distension procedure. In the ones that I have seen it may gain only a few degrees of movement at best.

Consult with your GP or experienced Health Moves physiotherapist in Mawson Lakes and Edwardstown!