Frozen shoulder, also known as adhesive capsulitis, is a painful and disabling disorder in which the shoulder capsule (the tissue that surrounds the shoulder joint) becomes inflamed and stiff, which greatly restricts moving and causes significant pain. Signs and symptoms typically begin gradually, worsen over time and then resolve, usually within one or two years.

Your risk of developing frozen shoulder increases if you’re recovering from a medical condition or procedure that affects the mobility of your arm  such as a stroke or a recent injury or surgery. Those with diabetes or rheumatoid arthritis are at a higher risk for developing this.

The normal course of a frozen shoulder has 3 stages:

  1. “Freezing” or painful stage, which lasts from 6 weeks to 9 months. The patient has a slow onset of pain and the pain worsens as the shoulder loses motion.
  2. “Frozen” or adhesive stage, which is marked by a slow improvement in pain but the stiffness remains. This stage usually lasts from 4 to 9 months.
  3. “Thawing” or recovery phase, the motion slowly returns to normal. This generally lasts from 5 to 26 months.

Common treatment options:


Bellefleur Physiotherapy offers patients in Ottawa exceptional care with a personalized treatment plan to suit your specific needs. If you are suffering from pain or have recently experienced an injury, our Ottawa Physiotherapists will ensure you get back to the activities you enjoy and love. Call us at (613) 424-7852 for an appointment today or email us at to book a consultation.

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