Frozen Shoulder


Mod – high

6 months – 2 years

Bursitis / rotator cuff

What is a frozen shoulder?

The technical diagnosis is adhesive capsulitis which gives you some insight into what happens with this shocker of a painful condition. Basically, the soft tissue around your shoulder joint contracts and thickens = very stiff, sticky and very painful. Frozen shoulder goes through 2 main phases that are often called ‘freezing’ (inflamed, steadily worsens) and then ‘thawing’ (less inflamed, stiff but can slowly improve). Movement initially makes frozen shoulder worse, sleeping can be a punishment and it can throw all your swimming-across-the-English-channel plans into a pit of no-bloody-way.

Why do frozen shoulders happen?

It’s complicated. It happens more in these groups: women, over 40yrs old and/or diabetic. Also if you’ve recently had shoulder surgery or fracture or if your thyroid is a bit dodgy. Without diving into complex explanations, the body wants to protect itself (inflammation) from a perceived threat and so frozen shoulder is similar to an auto-immune response.

What can you do about a frozen shoulder? Frozen Shoulder Physiotherapy in Newcastle.

1. Stay positive! Frozen shoulder gets better. It can take a while, but your pain will reduce eventually.
2. Physio can be helpful, but in the ‘frozen’ phase stretching, mobilising and massage generally makes it worse. When it starts ‘thawing’ gentle exercise and hands on therapy can help. Emphasis on ‘gentle’!
3. Sometimes a corticosteroid injection can help – best to speak to your physio about whether it’s the right timing for this.

How long will a frozen shoulder take?

This is the hardest part of frozen shoulder, it can take 2yrs + to resolve. It may seem like its the never-ending dark night of the painful shoulder but it will improve. Don’t lose hope!


Scans can help confirm your diagnosis. Don’t let it get mixed up with bursitis or rotator cuff tendon issues as the management for these conditions is quite different. If in doubt, chat to your physio about getting an ultrasound scan or an MRI to make sure.

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If pain persists, you may require the help of a professional physio. Contact Brightside Physio to make an appointment.


Brightside Physio
90 Elder St
Lambton (Newcastle)
NSW 2299

New location!
15 Lambton Rd
Broadmeadow (Newcastle)
NSW 2292



Find parking via De Vitre Street and walk down side alley to Elder Street entrance.



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Call us on (02) 4062 8862