Frozen shoulder or otherwise known as adhesive capsulitis occurs when the joint capsule which is like a glad wrap that holds the shoulder joint together becomes inflamed, thickens and sticks to itself. 90% of all cases are idiopathic which means that there wasn’t a precipitating event. 10% of cases are secondary to injury at the shoulder or elsewhere and due to protective mechanisms, the patient has not moved their shoulder enough.

Frozen shoulder is thought to be an inflammatory condition and therefore having diabetes or thyroid conditions may predispose patients to frozen shoulder.


Signs and symptoms of frozen shoulder

  • Reduced range of motion characterised initially by progressively reduced motion (9 months), freezing of the shoulder (5 months) and thawing out- improved movement (6months)
  • Initially there may be pain at rest, at the end of movement and at night
  • After a few months pain subsides


What does the science say?

  • Hydrodilatation can be used in the short term to help reduce pain and improve shoulder movement


How can Physiotherapy help?

Your Physiotherapist will be able to:

  • Help you identify aggravating activities
  • Help you identify positions of comfort
  • Provide manual therapy to reduce pain, tightness from hitching your shoulders as you try to reach higher
  • Identify the biomechanics of your shoulder joint and guide you through strengthening and scapular stabilisation exercises to improve them


See article for indications for hydrodilatation: