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Healing Frozen Shoulder With Physical Therapy

The Cause

From scar tissue, there is a stiffening of the shoulder and as a result, there is painful movement and a loss of motion. It is debatable on what exactly causes frozen shoulder. Some believe that it is caused by the body launching an attack against its own substances and tissues; this is called an autoimmune reaction. Others believe frozen shoulder is caused by the lining of the joint becoming inflamed.

Physical Therapy

A thorough evaluation will be performed by your physical therapist. To rule out other diagnoses, an extensive health history evaluation will be conducted. A “capsular pattern” which is a specific pattern in your decreased range of motion is common with frozen shoulder and this is what your therapist will look for. Diabetes, thyroid disorder and autoimmune disorders are all associated with frozen shoulder; these are factors that your therapist will take into consideration in order to determine a proper diagnosis.

So you can live your life the way you used to prior to your injury, your physical therapist’s overall goal is to restore your movement.


Physical therapy for each stage of frozen shoulder:

Stages 1 and 2

In order to help reduce the pain, your physical therapist will help you maintain as much range of motion as possible. To increase your range of motion your therapist may use a combination of stretching and manual therapy techniques to help relax the muscles prior to other forms of treatment. Heat and ice treatments may be included.

Stage 3

Your therapist will start to use more aggressive stretching and manual therapy techniques, the focus of treatment will be on the return of motion. In addition, you may begin exercises that help strengthen the affected area.

Stage 4

In the final stage, you will return to normal, everyday pain-free activities. The primary focus will be the return of “normal” shoulder body mechanics. With a variety of manual therapy techniques, your therapist will continue to use stretching and strength training.


Did you know that you do not need a referral for physical therapy? For more information call The Physical Therapy Alliance (516) 568-4444 with locations in Massapequa, Valley Stream, Wantagh, and Lindenhurst.