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frozen shoulder physiotherapy treatment

Your Guide To Finding Relief From Frozen Shoulder Physiotherapy Treatment!

Regardless of your age or gender, shoulder pain can really get you down, especially when it’s something as challenging as a frozen shoulder, also known as adhesive capsulitis. It’s not just about the pain; it’s the stiffness and limited movement that really gets to you. The discomfort can hinder your ability to perform simple tasks, turning everyday activities into painful challenges.

The good news is – there is a solution that can relieve you from this pain. With the right approaches, including specific exercises and techniques tailored to each stage of your condition, physical therapy can significantly reduce pain, improve mobility, and restore function, enabling you to enjoy a more active, pain-free life. In this blog, we’ll walk you through the causes and different stages of a frozen shoulder, giving you an idea of what to expect in your physiotherapy treatment.

What Are the Causes of a Frozen Shoulder?

Injury or Trauma: A previous injury or trauma to the shoulder can lead to inflammation and scarring of the shoulder joint, contributing to the development of a frozen shoulder.

Immobilization: Prolonged immobilization of the shoulder joint, such as wearing a sling or cast for an extended period, can lead to the development of a frozen shoulder due to lack of movement.

Medical Conditions: Certain medical conditions, such as diabetes, thyroid disorders, or cardiovascular disease, have been associated with an increased risk of developing frozen shoulders.

Age and Gender: Frozen shoulder is more common in individuals aged 40 and older, and it tends to affect women more often than men.

Other Factors: Other factors such as shoulder surgery, stroke, or certain medications can also increase the risk of developing frozen shoulders.

How a Frozen Shoulder Physiotherapy Treatment is Done?

Frozen shoulder develops in three distinct phases, each affecting the shoulder joint differently and requiring specific physiotherapy approaches. Here’s a breakdown of these stages and the corresponding physical therapy treatments:

Acute Stage “Freezing Stage”

During this phase you may start to feel pain in your shoulder any time you move it. The pain gradually worsens and can even be felt during rest. The range of motion begins to decrease. This stage can last from 6 weeks to 9 months.

Here’s how a physical therapist will diagnose your problems at this stage:

  • Pain Management: Focus is on reducing pain through physical therapy techniques that might include gentle stretching, heat therapy, and pain-relief modalities like TENS (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation).
  • Maintaining Range of Motion: Gentle stretching exercises help prevent further stiffness and maintain some degree of mobility in the shoulder.

Frozen Stage

Here the pain may begin to diminish, but the stiffness in the shoulder worsens. This stage can last from 4 to 12 months. Simple daily tasks such as getting dressed or reaching for items can be challenging during this stage.

To alleviate the pain, your therapist may suggest the following exercises:

  • Joint Mobilization: Physiotherapists use manual therapy techniques to gently mobilize the shoulder joint and surrounding tissues to improve flexibility.
  • Stretching Exercises: Specific stretches target the tight shoulder capsule, helping to gradually improve range of motion.
  • Strengthening Exercises: As pain allows, strengthening exercises for the shoulder and upper body can help prevent muscle atrophy and improve stability.

Thawing Stage

Lastly the shoulder gradually improves in terms of mobility. This stage can last from 6 months to 2 years. The shoulder’s range of motion slowly returns, and most, if not all, of the pain subsides.

To bring improvement here, your healthcare professional may suggest the following exercises:

  • Progressive Exercises: Physiotherapy focuses on gradually increasing the intensity and complexity of exercises to further improve range of motion and strength.
  • Functional Training: Patients learn how to perform daily activities with proper shoulder mechanics to prevent re-injury.
  • Education and Prevention: Physiotherapists guide posture, ergonomics, and ongoing home exercises to maintain shoulder health.

How Frozen Shoulder Physiotherapy Treatment Helps?

Pain Relief: It helps reduce pain associated with a frozen shoulder through various techniques such as manual therapy, ultrasound, and acupuncture. These therapies can help improve blood flow, reduce inflammation, and alleviate pain.

Restoring Mobility: Stretching plays a crucial role in restoring shoulder mobility. Physiotherapists use a combination of stretching, range-of-motion exercises, and joint mobilizations to help loosen the tight shoulder capsule and improve flexibility.

Preventing Recurrence: Getting physical therapy not only treats the current symptoms of a frozen shoulder but also aims to prevent its recurrence. Physiotherapists educate patients on proper posture, ergonomics, and shoulder-strengthening exercises to maintain shoulder health in the long term.

Avoiding Surgery: In many cases, physiotherapy can help patients avoid the need for surgical intervention for frozen shoulders. By improving shoulder mobility and strength, physiotherapy can restore function without the risks and recovery time associated with surgery.

Improving Quality of Life: Frozen shoulder can significantly impact a person’s quality of life by limiting their ability to perform daily activities. Physical therapy aims to improve shoulder function, allowing patients to resume their normal activities and enjoy a better quality of life.


Thus, it is indisputable that the Frozen shoulder presents a significant challenge, often causing pain and limiting the quality of life. Out of many solutions and treatments, getting physiotherapy treatment emerges as a worthwhile solution. With physical therapy, you can effectively tackle pain, restore range of motion and enhance overall shoulder function. It’s important to follow your physiotherapist’s recommendations closely and continue with any prescribed exercises or home care to maximize the benefits of a frozen shoulder physiotherapy treatment.
At Bridgwater Physiotherapy, we recognize the crucial role of physiotherapy in managing this condition. Our experienced team focuses on alleviating pain, restoring range of motion, and improving overall shoulder function. With tailored exercises, manual therapy, and patient education, we aim to guide individuals through each stage of their frozen shoulder journey. Experiencing symptoms of a frozen shoulder? Book a consultation to get a personalized assessment and physiotherapy treatment plan.