Adhesive capsulitis or Frozen shoulder

This article  is written by oneof the practitioners at Islington's Angel Wellbeing Clinic and looks at this common shoulder problem.

• anatomy of the frozen shoulder
• signs and symptoms
• causes

Frozen shoulder or adhesive capsulitis to give it its medical name is a condition that leads to the shoulder joint becoming painful and stiff. This ‘freezing’ phase may take a few days to a few months during which the shoulder joint becomes painful and less mobile and then this gives way to the ‘frozen’ phase. This phase is often less painful but there is stiffness and a very reduced range of motion. There can be wasting of the shoulder muscles during this. This gives way to the ‘thawing’ phase when mobility gradually returns to the shoulder.

Signs and symptoms

Most commonly affected movements are internal and external rotation of the shoulder so patients often have trouble putting their affected side hand into their back pocket. Reaching for door handles and combing hair can be some of the tasks that can be affected and the whole process from freezing to thawing may take three years or more.

Women are more susceptible to frozen shoulder than men and in particular the 40-60 year age group. Other underline conditions can increase the likelihood of developing a frozen shoulder such as diabetes, Parkinson’s and thyroid conditions. Frozen shoulder can also develop subsequently to an injury to the shoulder such as a fall.

A small percentage will be unfortunate enough to go on to develop a frozen shoulder in the other previously unaffected shoulder.


The capsule around the glenohumeral joint in the shoulder becomes thickened in a frozen shoulder.

frozen shoulder or adhesive capsulitis can be treated at Islington's angel wellbeing Clinic










Causes of frozen shoulder

Frozen shoulder is caused by the inflammation, scarring, thickening, and shrinkage of the capsule that surrounds the shoulder joint. There may be an immune system malfunction that causes the shoulder capsule to be ‘rejected’ and this results in the thickening of the structure.


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If you have shoulder pain or your shoulder joint is restricted and troubling you make an appointment with one of the practitioners at Islington's Angel Wellbeing. You can choose from a chiropractor, phusiotherapist or osteopath. For an assessment or if you wish to make an appointment please click below.