Frozen Shoulder

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Also known as “Adhesive Capsulitis”. Self limiting pathology involves inflammation and scarring of capsule and ligament that are active in the shoulder movement. The result is limited range of motion in the shoulder, especially reduction of abduction and external rotation range.

Injury mechanism:

Usually, it is common among middle aged and elderly athletes. Idiopathic, most likely result of irritation of the structures in the shoulder (joint, capsule, ligaments) – capsulitis. The result is inflammation that leads to scaring in the capsule tissue – adhesive. Adhesive Capsulitis.


The primary symptom is limited ROM of the shoulder and pain.

  • Pain: felt deeply inside, on the upper outside portion of the shoulder. Describes as aching, dull or stubbing sensation. Frequently, the pain will limit the use of hand and can disturb the night sleep. The intensity of the pain can vary from day to day and from different activity.

  • The scaring/adhesion on the capsule will lead to gradual increase in limitation of movement. Any stretching activity that involve the shoulder will result in pain.


When suspecting “frozen shoulder” one should turn to his medical provider for further investigation and intervention.

Things to avoid:

Never ignore pain. Pain is the signal of the body of a problem that is in progress. Seeking help early will most likely prevent deterioration and shorten the recovery phase.


Usually there are no complication to Adhesive Capsulitis and this is self limiting condition that will get better after several months. Treatment will shorten the recovery period and once it started there are good prognoses unless there is other cause for the pathology, like involvement of the rotator cuff muscles.


Please see your physiotherapist or health practitioner for proper assessment and treatment.

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