Frozen Shoulder Part 2: Frozen Stage

 In Upper Limb

Frozen Shoulder Part 2: Frozen Stage

In the previous blog we covered what happens in the first stage of frozen shoulder the “freezing stage”. The second stage of frozen shoulder is referred to as the “frozen stage”

Illustration of Frozen Shoulder by PogoPhysio

What happens?

The frozen stage is characterized by stiffness and limited movement around the shoulder. The usually smooth capsule surrounding the soft tissue of your shoulder has become thick and stiff. Although lack of movement can be incredibly debilitating, pain in this stage often does subside.

When/why does it happen?

When you notice your shoulder pain being to plateau, or even gradually decrease, you are likely in the frozen stage of frozen shoulder. Typically this stage lasts 9-14 months.

Why is it relevant?  

It’s good to be optimistic however even with a committed program you are unlikely to see fast gains during this stage. That being said, that does not mean to simply relax and wait it out. Continuing regular physiotherapy visits for pain relieving techniques, exercise and advice will be important to maintaining some function in your shoulder and arm. Having your pain well controlled is vital to progressing through this stage while avoiding aggravation.

Aim of Management: Similar to the “freezing stage”, the aim of physiotherapy in the frozen stage is to optimize function, educate the patient and decrease pain in the shoulder. Pain control can be addressed with a number of modalities as well techniques by your physiotherapist. It is our job to make sure you are fully informed and prepared for the testing aspects of this condition. It can get tiresome during this stage seeing little functional gain, however it’s important to try and stay motivated and positive. Your physiotherapist will be able to tell you how you are progressing and help you prepare for the next stage of frozen shoulder.

Ben Murphy

Bond University Physiotherapy Student

Photo Courtesy of:

Recommended Posts

Leave a Comment

shoulderrotator cuff exercise