Frozen Shoulder Treatment

Frozen shoulder, or adhesive capsulitis, is a painful condition where movement of the shoulder is partially or completely restricted.

At Vitalis Physiotherapy, we specialise in treatment of frozen shoulder to:

What is a frozen shoulder?

The shoulder is what‘s known as a ‘ball-and-socket’ joint, consisting of the collarbone (clavicle), shoulder blade (scapula) and upper arm bone (humerus). The head of the humerus sits in a socket on the shoulder blade, surrounded by strong, connective tissue and tendons – this area is referred to as the shoulder capsule. In this capsule, synovial fluid helps lubricate and keep joint movement smooth and mobile.

Frozen shoulder develops due to the shoulder capsule thickening and becoming stiff, this is often accompanied by less synovial fluid. It’s name comes from the freezing, or almost complete immobility of the shoulder and severe pain after onset.

Here are the three main stages:

  1. Freezing – increasing, severe pain with an eventual decreasing range of movement (can take up to 6-9 months)
  2. Frozen – pain may reduce but the stiffness remains (up to 4-6 months)
  3. Thawing – gradual improvement of symptoms, strength and movement (from 6 months – 2 years)
Question mark

What are the causes?

The cause of a frozen shoulder are still not completely known, however some conditions an other factors may leave you susceptible to develop the condition. These include:

  • After a shoulder or arm injury (particularly if the arm was kept immobilised in a sling).
  • After a shoulder surgery (also open heart surgery)
  • Previous frozen shoulder on the other side
  • After breast cancer treatment
  • Diabetes
  • Thyroid issues (hyper- and hypothyroidism)
  • Stroke
  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • Genetic/family history of the condition (and also of Dupuytren’s contracture)

Women are more at risk of developing a frozen shoulder, with onset typically between the ages of 40 and 60 years. The onset/diagnosis may be difficult to pinpoint in some cases.

What are the symptoms?

  • Pain usually in one shoulder – can be dull/sore to sharp/severe
    • Referred pain felt down hands, neck, back or arms
    • Pain/ache with movement, worse at night
  • Stiffness
  • Reduced reflexes, control and range of movement
  • Difficulty performing daily tasks due to pain/stiffness
Reducing Muscle Tension

Treatment for a frozen shoulder

If you have a frozen, it is important to seek out professional advice and guidance in managing symptoms and daily activity. You may be referred for CT, X-ray or MRI scans to determine the extent/stage of the injury.


Physical therapy is highly beneficial in reducing symptoms and increasing the range of movement from a frozen shoulder. At Vitalis Physiotherapy, we tailor a unique treatment plan to aid in your recovery through:

  • Stretching, strengthening and/or conditioning exercises
  • Restoring range of movement
  • Postural improvement
  • Joint mobilisation
  • Soft tissue release (massage)
  • Shockwave Therapy
  • Dry needling
  • Taping
  • A unique home exercise program
  • Graded Exposure to load program

If the pain and reduced movement is severe, driving and strenuous activity should be avoided. Your physiotherapist may also advise heat or ice application, rest and if necessary, pain medication. Additionally, they might recommend for you to use neck support or a suitable pillow.

How to book an appointment?

If you have a frozen shoulder, or you’re looking for a ‘physiotherapist near me’, our physios at Vitalis Physiotherapy can assess your condition to tailor a unique rehabilitation plan to aid in your pain relief and recovery.

All you need to do is just give us a call on 0410 559 856 and request an initial appointment. Please let our friendly reception staff know the background and severity of your condition.

You can visit our FAQs for more information about appointments at Vitalis Physiotherapy.


Need Help?

Are you in pain caused by a frozen shoulder? Contact Vitalis Physiotherapy now to book in your treatment.

Call our friendly team on 0410 559 856. We’d love to help.

Contact us for more information on treatment

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Sinnamon Park Village

3/58 Oldfield Road, Sinnamon Park Qld 4073


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