Frozen Shoulder: Who Gets Adhesive Capsulitis, and What To Do About It


Frozen Shoulder, or adhesive capsulitis, is a temporary but painful condition of the shoulder joint.

Frozen shoulder occurs when the capsule of connective tissue surrounding the shoulder joint thickens and tightens around the joint, restricting its movement. Symptoms such as pain, stiffening, and decreased range of motion begin gradually and eventually diminish. Without treatment, the condition can take as long as two years to resolve itself.

Your risk of developing frozen shoulder is increased if your shoulder has experienced prolonged immobility or reduced mobility. This reduced mobility can be a result of such things as a rotator cuff injury, a broken arm, or recovery from surgery. You may also be at risk if you have certain medical conditions, such as diabetes, overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism), underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism), or Parkinson’s disease.

But I can’t wait two years for my frozen shoulder to go away! What can I do now?

Make sure that what you’re experiencing is truly frozen shoulder syndrome (adhesive capsulitis.)  The term “Frozen Shoulder” has become a catch-all phrase for any restriction in range of motion of the arm and shoulder. There are a few treatment options available if you’re truly experiencing frozen shoulder syndrome. Your doctor may recommend stretching exercises or injections of corticosteroids into the joint. In a very small amount of cases surgery may be needed to loosen the joint capsule.

Alternative therapies may be the best choice for resolving your discomfort when surgery isn’t an option. Find a qualified massage therapist experienced in conditions such as frozen shoulder. Massage modalities ranging from relaxing Swedish techniques to deep tissue techniques such as shiatsu or trigger point therapy can all work toward improving your frozen shoulder syndrome. All of these techniques work to increase blood flow to the area, promoting healing and reducing stiffness.

If you think that you may have frozen shoulder syndrome, book a consultation with any of Balance’s experienced massage therapists. They will take the time to assess your condition and speak with you about your treatment options.

If you’re interested in stretching or mobilization therapy for your shoulder, talk to one of our therapists about assisted stretching.

Do you know that you’d like to get treated as soon as possible, but you’re still not sure? Booking a Consultation and Try-Out will give you the chance for an assessment as well as a short mini-treatment. This way you get the chance to experience what Balance’s therapists can do for you without the need to commit to a full treatment session.

Want to learn more about what ails you? Check our Ouch! Let’s Talk About What Hurts archives.


Mayo Clinic – Frozen Shoulder

Massage Today – Is That Really Frozen Shoulder?

AltMD – Massage Therapy for Frozen Shoulder

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