Frozen Shoulder - Causes, Stages And How Physiotherapy Works to Heal


The shoulder is a very flexible joint that consists of several tendons, ligaments, and muscles that all work together. Shoulder pain can occur from any type of injury, general wear and tear, and several inflammatory conditions. One of the most severe shoulder pain is a frozen shoulder. Although the exact cause of frozen shoulders is unknown, there are effective treatments that are successful for most patients. There are different stages of a frozen shoulder. We are going to discuss frozen shoulder pain therapy treatment and prevention strategies in this article.

What is a frozen shoulder ?

A frozen shoulder pertains to stiffness and pain in the shoulder joint. Signs and symptoms typically begin slowly and then get worse. Over time, symptoms get accepted, usually within 1 to 3 years. Keeping a shoulder still for a long period increases the risk of developing a frozen shoulder. This might happen even after having surgery or breaking an arm.


Frozen Shoulder Causes

The causes of frozen shoulders are still heavily a matter of great debate within the medical community. No one has the exact answer. Health conditions like diabetes, thyroid issues, and heart disease all contribute increased likelihood of frozen shoulders. However, the correlation can not be conclusive. While medical professionals don’t necessarily understand the true causes of frozen shoulders, there are some stages associated with the severity.


Stages of Frozen Shoulder: 

A frozen shoulder is often clinically explained as having three stages of symptoms:

Stage - 1

The Freezing Stage – During this phase, there is extensive amounts of inflammation in and around the joint causing severe pain and moderately restricted movement. The motions of the shoulder are restricted in both active and passive movements and are distinguished by limitations in certain directions of shoulder movement. This stage may stay 2 to 4 months.

Stage - 2

The Frozen Stage – The 2nd stage of frozen shoulder may last from 4-12 months. The early phases of this stage can be painful, but later in this stage, there is a gross regulation in the range of motion. Pathologically, this is when inflammation reduces and there is widespread fibrosis(scarring) of the capsule and ligaments.

Stage - 3

The Thawing Stage – In stage three there is comparatively lesser pain and the gradual return of movement as both inflammation and scarring resolve. This phase can last up to 26 months.


How physiotherapy helps? 

Physiotherapy intervention is based on the stage and symptom presentation of a frozen shoulder. conservative treatment of frozen shoulder pain therapy like non-operative options such as medication, steroid injections, and physiotherapy is successful in healing up to 90 percent of patients.

Early physiotherapy intervention applies patient education, pain management and gentle stretching exercises. These exercises consist of particular shoulder mobilization exercises to maintain the shoulder range of motion within a pain-free window.

In later stages physiotherapy intervention can prepare further stretching exercises, postural exercises, strengthening and pain management techniques. Pain management techniques can incorporate dry needling, heat therapy, manual shoulder pain therapy. Physiotherapists can prescribe a home exercise program to maintain shoulder mobility and strength throughout the various phases, like hydrotherapy which can also help maintain shoulder mobility in a pain-free environment.

At VL Therapy, experienced and knowledgeable physiotherapists can help with the treatment of frozen shoulders by providing the right treatment approach depending on your stage of recovery.


VL Therapy, a popular physiotherapy centre in Malaysia works successfully with hundreds of patients with various difficulties and is dedicated to providing a world-class service for every individual. A team of experienced educated and professional physiotherapists is providing various modern treatment plans for shoulder pain therapy to make all patients regain their health as per the need for looking not just at the immediate, but also to ensure that the relief becomes sustainable. To know more about the services please visit the official website