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  • Writer's pictureCrucial Rehab Team

Frozen Shoulder

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on Frozen Shoulder

1. Q : What is frozen shoulder?

A : Frozen shoulder is also known as adhesive capsulitis. It is a thickening and tightening of the soft tissue capsule that surrounds the ball and socket joint of the shoulder.

2. Q : How do you get frozen shoulder?

A : The exact causes remain unclear. However, the development of frozen shoulder has been associated with predisposing factors include diabetes mellitus, medical conditions such as stroke, Parkinson’s disease or heart disease, prolonged shoulder immobility secondary to trauma or surgery.

3. Q : What are the symptoms of frozen shoulder?

A : People typically experience gradual onset of shoulder stiffness, extreme pain that usually worsens at night and pain when sleeping on that affected side. You may feel difficult to perform simple tasks such as comb hair, reach behind your back to fasten the bra or reach into back pocket to grab the wallet.

4. Q : How does frozen shoulder progress?

A : There are 3 stages: freezing, frozen and thawing. Freezing stage is when the range of motion of the shoulder is slightly affected, shoulder movement becomes more painful, and tends to be worse at night. When the shoulder is frozen, the pain begins to subside, but the range of motion gradually diminishes. This makes it is more difficult to complete daily tasks. People with frozen shoulder will regain full or near full recovery as normal strength and range of motion return at the thawing stage.

5. Q : How long does it take to recover?

A : It is usually resolving in 1-3 years.

6. Q : How can frozen shoulder be treated?

A : The first approach should be conservative management includes anti-inflammatory medication, steroid injection or physiotherapy treatment, while surgical option can be considered for people who are not responding well to those conservative managements.

7. Q : How can a physiotherapist help?

A : The physiotherapist will carry out assessments to identify the stage of your condition. Once it is identified, the physiotherapist will create individualized treatment and exercise program to relieve your shoulder pain, restore your shoulder movements, and thus optimize your daily activities.

8. Q : What are the physiotherapy treatments for frozen shoulder?

A :

  • Modalities: Hot pack, ice pack or TENS for pain management.

  • Manual therapy: Soft tissue mobilization and joint manipulation are helpful in improving the shoulder mobility.

  • Dry needling: Used to break down the trigger points in tensed muscles.

  • Exercise program: Mobility, stretching and strengthening exercises are designed to improve shoulder mobility, muscle strength which are required in your daily tasks and movements.


1. Andrew S. Neviaser and Jo A. Hannafin. 2010. Adhesive Capsulitis: A Review of Current Treatment. Am J Sports Med 38: 2346-2356.

2. Giovanni Maria D’Orsi, Alessio Giai Via, Antonio Frizziero, Francesco Oliva. 2012. Treatment of Adhesive Capsulitis: A Review. Muscles, Ligaments and Tendons Journal 2(2): 70-78.

3. Hui Bin Yvonne Chan, Pek Ying Pua, Choon How How. 2017. Physical Therapy in the Management of Frozen Shoulder. Singapore Med J 58(12): 685-689.


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