Frozen Shoulder

Frozen Shoulder, or Adhesive capsulitis as it is also known, is a condition that causes severe pain and stiffness of the shoulder. At Harris & Ross, our practitioners are expert in diagnosing and guiding treatment for people suffering from this condition.

What causes it?

The exact cause is unknown. It sometimes can be set off by a small injury, but most often starts following no trauma or injury of note at all. The shoulder joint capsule when healthy is elastic and supple, allowing a large range of movement. With a frozen shoulder this capsule becomes thickened, tight, swollen, red and inflamed, leading to shoulder pain and immobility.

Common symptoms:

  • pain on shoulder movement
  • pain at night
  • reduced shoulder range of movement
  • pain lying on the shoulder

3 phases of Frozen Shoulder

  • Freezing – pain intensifies and there is a gradual reduction of range of movement
  • Frozen – stiffness is the over-riding symptom as pain lessens through this phase
  • Thawing – the issue gradually resolves, with the stiffness beginning to subside


We know if left untreated that most frozen shoulders improve well. However, this can take well over 2 years.

Physiotherapy can help through:

  • Exercises to help maintain range of movement
  • Advice with regards the management of the condition
  • Soft tissue work for secondary muscular pain and tightness
  • Acupuncture can be helpful for some patients
  • Diagnosis and onward referral to a consultant (if appropriate)

Our team at Harris and Ross have excellent links with specialist shoulder consultants and following your initial assessment will discuss and help you decide the most suitable treatment and management plan for you. This may be with physiotherapy and/or it may be exploring other treatment options available through a consultant. These treatment options include Injections, Hydrodilatation Procedure or even Surgery.

For a frozen shoulder assessment appointment at our Manchester, Wilmslow, Altrincham or Wigan clinics, call Harris & Ross on 0161 832 9000 or book an initial assessment appointment using the book online service below.