Frozen Shoulder / Adhesive Capsulitis

What is Frozen Shoulder?
Frozen shoulder is a painful shoulder joint condition. In medical terminology it is called “adhesive capsulitis”. How frozen shoulder exactly begins is still a bit of a mystery, however, it typically occurs after a trauma or repetitive injury to the shoulder. Women in the pre and post–menopausal age range are more likely to experience frozen shoulder, however men can also experience frozen shoulder.

With frozen shoulder, the thick capsule of tissue that surrounds the shoulder joint begins to experience chronic inflammation. The body begins a cycle of inflammation and scarring that causes the capsule around the shoulder joint to contract and become limited in its flexibility. This causes very painful range of motion in the shoulder when trying to move the arm.

At the beginning of frozen shoulder it is very painful and range of motion becomes limited. This can be around 4–8 weeks in duration. After that, motion is very limited in the shoulder, but often not as painful. Depending on the severity of the condition, it can take sometimes up to a year to resolve and improve range of motion.

How physiotherapy helps
Physiotherapy can make a big difference in shortening the time it takes to recover from frozen shoulder (adhesive capsulitis). By coming to therapy as early as possible, the inflammatory cycle can be significantly reduced, limiting scarring and contraction of the shoulder capsule. In turn, physiotherapy, along with medication can limit the pain and ensure a faster recovery.

Our physiotherapists work with many frozen shoulder patients to reduce pain quickly and restore range of motion to the shoulder. Physiotherapy treatments focus on hands–on therapy and specialized exercises to maintain as much range of motion as possible during the inflammatory phase of frozen shoulder. During the “thawing” phase we work with you to improve range of motion in your shoulder and restore strength.

It can take quite awhile for the motion to be restored to the shoulder, but by coming to physiotherapy, we can help you recover as quickly as possible. Call us today to find out how we can help you relieve your frozen shoulder pain!


    Belmont Centre for Physical Medicine
    564 Belmont Avenue West, Suite 301
    Kitchener, Ontario N2M 5N6

    Phone : (519) 743-4355 Fax : (519) 743-6787


    Behind Wellness Centre ( Clock Tower )
    3 Wyatt Street East, Suite 2
    Elmira, Ontario N3B 2H4

    Phone : (519) 669-1212 Fax : (519) 669-0800


    University of Waterloo Student Life Centre
    200 University Avenue West
    Waterloo, Ontario N2L 3G1

    Phone : (519) 884-0767 Fax : (519) 884-9161