What is a Frozen Shoulder?

Graphic of women stretching with toddlers
Posted November 4, 2022
Caitlin Williams
BKin(Hon), MSc(PT), MScCl(Manip Ther), DPT, FCAMPT

Frozen Shoulder is a condition which we often see in our clinic.  But what exactly is Frozen Shoulder… Well, it is an inflammatory condition characterized by the thickening and fibrosis (contracture) of the glenohumeral (shoulder) joint capsule. The cause behind Frozen Shoulder continues to remain largely unknown, however we believe that there is some type of immune response to one or a combo of genetic, mechanical, metabolic or hormonal factors.

How do we diagnose Frozen Shoulder?

There is no great consensus on how to accurately diagnose Frozen Shoulder but we do know that overall shoulder stiffness is a key indicator to ruling in this condition.  Physiotherapists also rely on their clinical reasoning to rule out other causes of shoulder stiffness, for example recent trauma to the shoulder, shoulder arthritis, or a large rotator cuff tear.  

What is the role of Physiotherapy?

The journey to accurately assess and diagnose Frozen Shoulder can be long and tiring for people.  It is a very painful condition that often leaves one feeling the challenges related to distress and disability.  We often see that even the most basic daily activities are hard to complete.  This can leave a person feeling concerned for what is going on? And start to wonder why is it taking so long? And what will the final outcome be? 

At Elora Physiotherapy, our team has been educated to help our clients navigate these often difficult and challenging questions, and guide them through an individualized plan of care to help them address their needs and goals.  If you are wondering if you are dealing with a Frozen Shoulder, please don’t hesitate to call the clinic, we are here to help!