Inner West Allied Health and Specialist Centre
24/7 physiotherapy keeps you moving well

Adhesive Capsulitis (Frozen shoulder) treatment

Adhesive capsulitis

Adhesive capsulitis AKA Frozen Shoulder is a common condition affecting 3% of the population. It usually affects people over the age of 40 years, 66% of the time in women. It may be triggered by an injury to the shoulder, especially fractured neck of humerus, and previous surgery to the heart, breast and shoulder. It is also associated with diabetes, thyroid disease, Parkinson’s disease and inflammatory disorders. It occurs in both shoulders in 10% of individuals.
Frozen shoulder usually resolves after 18 months to 2 years. This is a long time to wait for a very painful condition to resolve so it is a good idea to seek physio assessment and treatment. The physio will need to determine which phase of the condition you are going through to determine the appropriate treatment.

The 3 phases of Frozen Shoulder:

1: The "Freezing" phase lasts about 2 to 9 months (sometimes even longer in diabetics). Patients get pain at rest, with activity and also pain at night. There is significant restriction of motion

2: The "frozen" phase displays progressive stiffness, lasting up to 12 months. Pain occurs only at the extremes of movement but the shoulder remains stiff

3: The "thawing out" phase is the resolution phase where movements improve over a 12 to 24 month period. This phase is not usually painful.  


The most important aspect of treatment is to manage appropriate strengthening and stretching exercises so your shoulder is as mobile and strong as possible during the lifecycle of the condition. The physio will also treat you for pain relief. this involves massage to the neck and shoulder joints and sometimes to the chest wall. Gentle glides of the shoulder joint can also help the range of motion of the shoulder.


Medications  including pain killers, anti-inflammatories (NSAIDS such as Mobic) will also provide relief. Your physio may refer you to a shoulder specialist or radiologist for ultrasound guided injection. Some specialists are also using a technique called hydrodilatation where up 50ml of saline, cortisone and anaesthetic is injected into the shoulder joint. The shoulder is then stretched intensively at home and with your physio for about 4 weeks and can speed up the course of the condition.



Call 95183400 to treat your frozen shoulder