By: Brandon DuBois, SPT

Frozen Shoulder Symptoms

Frozen shoulder, also known as adhesive capsulitis, is a condition in which the tissue surrounding the glenohumeral joint (shoulder joint) become stiff, preventing proper movement and often causing pain. Frozen shoulder is common following shoulder injuries and surgeries in which a person does not use the shoulder and does not take it through full range of motion for a prolonged period of time.

What is Frozen Shoulder?

Treatment for Frozen Shoulder

If you have symptoms in accordance with frozen shoulder, a physical therapist can examine your shoulder joint’s range of motion and compare it to normal and functional ranges. Treatment entails the use of passive and active movements to help increase the mobility of the shoulder joint. A physical therapist can also do manual joint mobilizations to increase your available range of motion. Patients are given various exercises and stretches to do at home to reduce your joint restrictions.

Can Frozen Shoulder be prevented?

Frozen shoulder can be prevented through the use of gentle, passive range of motion and active range of motion exercises to maintain the joint’s available motion, and reduce adhesions. Active range of motion for the shoulder is seen in the image below. Various stretching exercises will also aid in providing mobility to the joint capsule. A physical therapist can perform manual mobilizations on the glenohumeral joint to assist in acquiring full range of motion. It is important to follow your doctor’s advice and any surgery protocols that you have been given.

For more information on symptoms, treatment, and prevention of frozen shoulder and how physical therapy can help, contact us at 518-289-5242 (Malta) or 518-289-5242 (Queensbury) physical therapy clinics.


Frozen Shoulder – Topic Overview. WebMD. Accessed July 16, 2017.

Neviaser AS, Neviaser RJ. Adhesive Capsulitis of the Shoulder. Journal of the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons. 2011;19.