Frozen Shoulder

What is frozen shoulder?

Frozen shoulder refers to a condition which involves chronic pain and stiffness in the shoulder. It normally develops slowly and then subsides, and can last from a few months up to three years.

There are typically three stages of frozen shoulder symptoms. The first lasts for between two and nine months and is characterised by severe shoulder pain which can involve the shoulder being disabled to some extent due to the increasing, extreme stiffness. In the second phase, which can last for between four to 12 months, the shoulder is still very stiff, with restricted mobility, but the pain can begin to subside gradually. In the third phase, the shoulder is recovering, and range of motion is recovered. This recovery stage can last anywhere from five to 24 months.

Pain which is experienced from a frozen shoulder is often described as a ‘dull ache’ and can extend down to the upper part of the arm.

What causes frozen shoulder?

While the exact cause of frozen shoulder is not known, experts have linked the condition to inflammation in the shoulder, and the development of scar tissues.

Frozen shoulder can occur after shoulder injuries, such as bone fractures and rotator cuff tears. The condition can follow shoulder surgery, and surgery focused on other parts of the body. Frozen shoulder has also been linked to other conditions, such as diabetes. It has been found that people with particular conditions and diseases have a higher chance of developing frozen shoulder. Individuals who have had a stroke, have Parkinson’s disease, have taken protease inhibitors for HIV infection, or been immobilised for a long period of time are other candidates for the condition.

Treatment options for frozen shoulder


Osteopaths can help to treat frozen shoulder through manual exercises and therapy. They can also perform manipulations which involve the trigger points.


There are many physical exercises which can help to both stretch and strengthen the shoulder joint.