Frozen shoulder is a common condition in which the shoulder stiffens, reducing its mobility.

It is also known as adhesive capsulitis. The term "frozen shoulder" is often used incorrectly for arthritis, but these two conditions are unrelated.

It commonly affects people aged between 40 and 60 years, and it is more likely in women than in men. It is estimated to affect about 3 percent of people. It can affect one or both shoulders and is most common in diabetic patients.


Symptoms of frozen shoulder include persistent pain in the upper shoulder joint. A person with a frozen shoulder will have a persistently painful and stiff shoulder joint. Signs and symptoms develop gradually, and usually resolve on their own.


The Frozen shoulder is thought to happen when scar tissue forms in the shoulder. This causes the shoulder joint's capsule to thicken and tighten, leaving less room for movement. Movement may become stiff and painful.The exact cause is not fully understood, and it cannot always be identified.

However, most people with frozen shoulder have experienced immobility as a result of a recent injury or fracture symptoms. 


Frozen shoulder can only be prevented if it is caused by an injury that makes shoulder movement difficult. Anyone who experiences such an injury should talk to a doctor about exercises for maintaining mobility and flexibility of the shoulder joint.

How physiotherapy help

  • Frequent, gentle exercise can prevent and possibly reverse stiffness in the shoulder.
  • Crossover arm stretch
  • Hot or cold compression packs: These can help reduce pain and swelling. 
  • Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS)
  • Shoulder manipulation
  • Pendulum stretch
  • Towel stretch