Frozen Shoulder


Frozen shoulder, also known as adhesive capsulitis, is a condition characterised by stiffness and pain in your shoulder joint. Signs and symptoms typically begin gradually, worsen over time and then resolve, usually within one to three years.


The cause of frozen shoulder remains unclear, however it is thought that the lining of the joint (the capsule) becomes inflamed, which causes scar tissue to form. This leaves less room for the humerus or arm bone to move, hence restricting the movement of the joint.

Frozen shoulder is thought to have an incidence of 3%-5% in the general population and up to 20% in those with diabetes . Its peak incidence in between the ages of 40 and 60 and is rare outside these age groups and in manual workers and is slightly more common in women.

Bilateral contemporaneous frozen shoulder occurs in 14% of patients whilst up to 20% of patients will develop some form of similar symptoms in the other shoulder. Diabetes is the most common associated disease with frozen shoulder and a patient with diabetes has a lifetime risk of 10%-20% of developing this condition.

Patients with frozen shoulder have a higher risk of having some form of pre-diabetic condition with an abnormal fasting glucose or impaired glucose tolerance test.


Frozen shoulder typically develops slowly, and in three stages. Each stage can last a number of months.

  • Freezing stage. Any movement of your shoulder causes pain, and your shoulder’s range of motion starts to become limited.
  • Frozen stage. Pain may begin to diminish during this stage. However, your shoulder becomes stiffer, and using it becomes more difficult.
  • Thawing stage. The range of motion in your shoulder begins to improve.

For some people, the pain worsens at night, sometimes disrupting sleep.



Frozen shoulder is usually managed conservatively. Seek medical advice if you think you may have this condition, as early treatment can help prevent really severe stiffness setting in. Follow any advice given by your therapist, particularly with regard to a rehabilitation program. We encourage to keep the shoulder moving even if it is just small pendular movements. If movement is very painful this should be only be done under the guidance of a qualified therapist. Read More


Our Approach

In Dublin Sports Injury Clinic we have a holistic approach on our assessment and treatment.The initial assessment help us to explore the cause of your injury and help you to get pain free shortly and stop any further injuries. We will design a customised training program for you to start with, and we coach you and monitor your progress closely. We will prescribe relative rest or modified activities as required. In addition, patient’s education helps to reduce frustration and encourages compliance. In our clinic, the treatment of frozen shoulder will be tailored to the stage of the disease for every individual. Read More

Next step 

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