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Overcoming Frozen Shoulder: How Physical Therapy Can Help Restore Shoulder Mobility

What is frozen shoulder?

Frozen shoulder, also referred to as adhesive capsulitis, is characterized by stiffness and pain in the shoulder joint. The onset of signs and symptoms is typically gradual, with progressive worsening over time; however, these symptoms usually improve within a span of 1 to 3 years. The exact cause remains unknown, but it tends to occur more frequently following prolonged immobilization of the shoulder, such as post-surgery or after an arm fracture. Routine exercises and stretching of the shoulder can help maintain normal movement without pain.


The shoulder joint is encased in a capsule comprised of connective tissue. Frozen shoulder develops when this capsule thickens and constricts around the joint, thus limiting its movement. Discomfort, pain, and reduced range of motion may stem from tightness in the posterior capsule located at the back portion of your shoulder—a condition associated not only with frozen shoulder syndrome but also with conditions like shoulder impingement syndrome, rotator cuff tendinopathy, and rotator cuff tears.

What can physical therapy do to improve frozen shoulder?

Physical therapists employ various manual techniques alongside specific exercises and stretches to alleviate such tightness. One effective stretch that might be recommended during clinical visits is repeated horizontal adduction using a doorway. This straightforward yet impactful exercise can be performed almost anywhere. Even in absence of current shoulder discomfort, engaging in this practice serves as an excellent preventive measure.

Get your shoulder mobility back

Our therapists at Conifer Physical Therapy are each trained to diagnose and treat frozen shoulders. We invite you to contact our office so we can get you scheduled for an evaluation at (303) 838-7444.  It's time to overcome your frozen shoulder and restore your shoulder mobility!



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