Stiff or Frozen Shoulder

There are a group of patients that get a very stiff shoulder with Impingement Syndrome, please see the Impingement Syndrome page.

There is also a group of patients that get a stiff and stuck shoulder due to Adhesive Capsulitis, commonly known as Frozen Shoulder. Although clinically, are two very different pathologies, there is a lot of cross over in their presentation, particularly in the first six months.

Frozen shoulder involves the lining of the shoulder joint, known as the ‘capsule’. The capsule or ligaments are normally very flexible and elastic in nature. This flexibility allows the amazing range of motion that the shoulder has. With a frozen shoulder this capsule (and its ligaments) become inflamed, swollen, red and contracted. Therefore, when you try and move the shoulder the pain stops you and then the inflamed section becomes short and very tight.

Following our assessment, your physiotherapist will decide if physiotherapy will be beneficial for your stiff shoulder. In some cases of Frozen shoulder a surgical opinion is required for injections to stretch the capsule (Hydrodialitation) or arthroscopic surgery to release the ligaments. The evidence for Physiotherapy is mixed and whilst some patients find it very helpful, especially in the early stages, there are not yet the clinical trials showing that Physiotherapy is effective in every patient.

For more information please see here.