yoga practitioner testing passive range of motion on client’s right shoulder July 1, 2021

Frozen Shoulder & Physiotherapy

As frozen shoulder sufferers know all too well, adhesive capsulitis can be a persistent and stubborn condition. Frozen shoulder symptoms include gnawing shoulder pain and a frustrating loss of range of motion that can last for months to years, and many courses of treatment, including physiotherapy, fail to provide an effective cure when attempted in isolation. 

This situation can be confusing, causing sufferers of frozen shoulder whether or not physiotherapy actually helps alleviate frozen shoulder syndrome. To set the record straight: In virtually all cases  physiotherapy on its own will not cure adhesive capsulitis. However, physiotherapy plays a crucial role in helping patients recover from the world’s most effective frozen shoulder treatment, the MCD procedure. 

Understanding Adhesive Capsulitis

person suffering from neck and shoulder pain

It takes a special combination of medical expertise, treatment and follow-up care to successfully resolve frozen shoulder adhesive capsulitis. For many healthcare practitioners, this condition is particularly difficult to diagnose and treat because it progresses in stages:

  • Pre-Freezing Stage
  • Freezing Stage
  • Frozen Stage
  • Thawing Stage

Frozen shoulder usually starts out with a gradual onset, characterized by dull shoulder pain and minor limitations in shoulder range of motion during the first few months. As the pre-freezing stage transitions to the freezing stage, sufferers have probably been coping with symptoms for many weeks, so many people seek out a physical therapist at this point, if they haven’t already. 

Sufferers are often counseled to engage in some combination of physical therapy exercises, including stretching and strengthening exercises for the rotator cuff muscles of the affected arm, so that the upper arm bone (humerus) can achieve external rotation. 

However, while this good faith approach on behalf of physical therapists can help forestall further losses in shoulder movement and alleviate pain for some people, in the large majority of cases, this prescription of shoulder exercises does not address the underlying cause of the frozen shoulder. 

The Frozen Stage

Once patients reach the frozen stage, many non-specialist physical therapists mistake the severe pain and the shoulder joint’s limited range of motion for some form of rotator cuff tear or a labral tear. 

Unfortunately, this means that patients in search of pain relief and increased shoulder joint mobility are often prescribed a shoulder strengthening and range of motion home exercise program that will not cure their frozen shoulder syndrome. 

For people who have sought multiple consultations with doctors and physical therapists for the shoulder pain, it can be extremely frustrating to receive an inconclusive or ambiguous diagnosis. If this has happened to you, it’s time to contact a frozen shoulder specialist

Treating Frozen Shoulder

model of the shoulder blade and glenohumeral joint

To cure adhesive capsulitis, the World Frozen Shoulder Clinic uses the manual capsular dissection (MCD) procedure, which has a 98% clinical success rate in restoring shoulder mobility and functionality. 

Created by the pioneering Dr. Oolo-Austin, this unique method isolates the connective tissue of the shoulder joint capsule and separates the adhesions using specific patient movements in conjunction with specialized mobilizations to free the glenohumeral joint. This non-invasive, non-surgical outpatient procedure can be completed in about an hour, with patients reporting huge gains in range of motion immediately after the procedure. 

Following the MCD procedure, patients must adhere to a protocol of frozen-shoulder-specific range of motion exercises to give their shoulder muscles a neurological re-education and make sure that the frozen shoulder does not return. 

Following the MCD Procedure

physical therapist leading a group through shoulder mobilization exercises

As stated earlier, physiotherapy has little to offer in terms of frozen shoulder treatment on its own, but the rehabilitation and re-education of the shoulder capsule is absolutely crucial for long-term shoulder health. 

Patients who have their frozen shoulder symptom cured by the MCD procedure must therefore adhere to an intensive schedule of frozen shoulder exercises in the month following their procedure.  

Ending Frozen Shoulder

No matter how long you have been suffering, the World Frozen Shoulder Clinic can end your shoulder stiffness and restore your shoulder motion in just one visit. For more information or a frozen shoulder diagnosis, contact the World Frozen Shoulder Clinic for a free consultation


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