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Physiotherapy &
Sports Injury Clinic

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Frozen Shoulder (Adhesive Capsulitis) Treatment

Frozen shoulder is a painful condition with significant restrictions in movements at the shoulder joint. The shoulder capsule becomes tightened and inflexible. Progression of frozen shoulder happens in three stages:

Initial (Acute) Stage – capsule of the shoulder becomes painfully contracted

Subacute stage – fibrosis (excess tissue) stage where fibres of muscle/tissue holds things together

Chronic stage – where the inflexibility gradually releases


Frozen shoulder if left untreated can take up to two years to heal. Therefore for ideal results we recommend that treatment for frozen shoulder should begin immediately. If the condition is caught early treatment may only take several weeks to correct.

Causes of Frozen Shoulder

  • Trauma or disorder of the shoulder such as an impingement
  • Rotator cuff tendinitis can lead to frozen shoulder
  • Trigger points in the rotator cuff muscles
  • Postural dysfunction
  • Overuse or overexertion of the shoulder
  • Disease following shoulder injury or where shoulder has become immobilized (preventing movement such as shoulder dislocation or surgery)

Signs and symptoms of frozen shoulder

  • An early symptom is a pain or tenderness in the shoulder area
  • A sensation of tightness in the shoulder especially when putting the arm up and back as if throwing a ball
  • Possible pain in the back of the wrist caused by subscapularis trigger points
  • As the condition progresses the pain may diminish although other symptoms worsen such as the tightness of the shoulder

Treatment for Frozen Shoulder

  • Depending on the stage of frozen shoulder whether in the acute or chronic stage treatment will focus on either pain/inflammation relief, or in maintain/restoring range of motion and releasing the tightness/adhesiveness of the shoulder
  • Physiotherapy, acupuncture and massage therapy can all successfully treat frozen shoulder, however for pain relief acupuncture is very helpful and physiotherapy will help to restore the flexibility of the shoulder

If you have any questions about Frozen Shoulder contact our staff at Dynamic Physiotherapy.



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Do you take WSIB patients?

Yes, WSIB will pay for approved physiotherapy treatment for workplace injuries. Some WSIB injuries are covered for up to 12 weeks.

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