Frozen Shoulder

Frozen shoulder or adhesive capsulitis presents with a gradual onset of pain over weeks to months. It may develop in metabolic conditions or following a previous trauma that has caused the shoulder to become unused and then stiff.

There is a decreased shoulder movement and range of motion. The condition may take up to 18 months to resolve and is characterised by 3 phases; (1) painful (2) painful and stiff (3) resolution.

A combination of rehabilitation and physical therapy can be used with medical treatment.

When decreased range of motion is present and when daily activities are proving challenging, treatment aims to improve the shoulder movement and reduce symptoms.


  • Vague pain in the shoulder region
  • Gradual onset of pain, progressive
  • Tight muscles surrounding the shoulder
  • Swelling
  • Decreased range of movement
  • Weakness lifting the arm
  • Inflammation and redness around the shoulder
  • Pain when sleeping on the side

Common conditions:

  • Previous history of trauma or immobilisation
  • Diabetes
  • Stroke
  • Lung disease
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Heart disease

Chiropractic technique may help thaw Frozen Shoulder Syndrome

In a study from the Journal of Chiropractic Medicine, a case series of 50 consecutive patients diagnosed with frozen shoulder syndrome (FSS) were treated with a series of chiropractic manipulation treatments of the cervical and thoracic spine, plus a novel chiropractic method, the OTZ Tension Adjustment, which involves a “skull glide” and an HVLA thrust to correct occipito-atlantal subluxation. There was no control group.

The findings:

Many of these patients’ complaints seemed to improve or resolve within 1 month of presentation, whereas, in general, it is thought that FSS symptoms can persist for 2 years or more.

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