July 24th, 2017

Posture Doctor Provides Rapid Relief for Frozen Shoulder

Recently at the Posture Doctor in our Cookstown and Belfast practice, we have been seeing an influx of patients in clinic with frozen shoulder, so we decided to create this factsheet is for people who have Frozen Shoulder, or those who would like information on it.  Frozen shoulder is also known as Adhesive Capsulitis. Frozen shoulder (adhesive capsulitis) is a condition that causes pain and stiffness in your shoulder, eventually making your shoulder difficult to move.

What is Frozen Shoulder

Your shoulder joint (also known as the glenohumeral joint) is a ball and socket joint. Normally, the ball at the end of your upper arm bone (humerus) moves smoothly in the shallow socket on the edge of your shoulder blade (scapula). Strong connective tissue, called the capsule, surrounds the joint. Frozen shoulder is a condition that occurs as a result of inflammation (soreness and swelling) around your shoulder joint and its surrounding capsule. You’re more likely to get frozen shoulder if you’re aged between 40 and 60. It’s also more common among women than men.

There are three stages of frozen shoulder.

  1. Freezing. During this stage you will slowly develop pain that gets worse as you lose motion in your shoulder. This stage can last between six weeks and nine months.
  2. Frozen. The pain may have settled during this stage but your shoulder will remain stiff. This can last between four and six months.
  3. Thawing. During this final recovery stage you will begin to get movement back in your shoulder. This stage can last between six months and two years.

Symptoms of frozen shoulder include:

·       a dull or aching pain in your affected shoulder

·       stiffness around your shoulder joint

·       restricted range of movement in your affected shoulder

The stiffness may make it difficult for you to do everyday tasks, such as driving, dressing or sleeping. You may also have difficulty scratching your back or putting your hand in your back pocket. The pain usually comes on gradually, and is often worse when you move your shoulder joint. It may also be worse at night. These symptoms may be caused by problems other than frozen shoulder. If you have any of these symptoms, see your GP for advice.

Causes of Frozen Shoulder

The exact reason why frozen shoulder develops is not known at present. It’s thought to be caused by inflammation of your shoulder joint and its surrounding capsule. Frozen shoulder can sometimes develop if you have had a shoulder injury, such as a fracture, or if you have had surgery on your shoulder. Some medical conditions can increase your risk of getting frozen shoulder, including:

·       diabetes

·       hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism

·       Parkinson’s disease

·       cardiovascular disease

Diagnosis of Frozen Shoulder

If you think you have frozen shoulder, see your GP or Chiropractor. Each will ask about your symptoms and examine you. He or she may also ask you about your medical history. You may be referred for on some imagining of the shoulder such as x-ray, MRI or ultrasound. These tests can rule out other causes of your shoulder stiffness and pain, such as rotator cuff problems and osteoarthritis.

Treating Frozen Shoulder

Frozen shoulder can take years to completely go away. Treatment for frozen shoulder depends on the stage of your condition and the treatment you choose;


Our chiropractors use a range of techniques to help reduce the inflammation and help restore the movement within the shoulder joint.  Treatment often includes careful mobilization and then manipulation. Acupuncture and specific trigger point pressure and active relaease techniques (ART) is applied to the restrictive muscle fibrosis and swift progress is made. We then treat around the area, making sure that the mid thoracic spine and lower cervical spine are able to function correctly and not restrict the improving shoulder.


If you need pain relief during the first stage of frozen shoulder, you can take over the counter medication, such as paracetamol, or non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen. Always read the patient information that comes with your medicine and if you have any questions, ask your pharmacist for advice. It’s important to continue moving your shoulder regularly during day-to-day activities and not to stop moving your shoulder completely. Around nine out of 10 people find that the pain gets better and the movement improves after following these self-help treatments.

Prevention of frozen shoulder

The best way to prevent frozen shoulder is to get treatment as early as possible if you injure your shoulder or develop shoulder pain that limits your range of movement.  It is one of those problems that needs treatment ASAP.

If you are suffering from Frozen shoulder or shoulder pain book your appointment now in our Coostown or Belfast Office, call us on – 028 867 61861