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The 3 Stages of a Frozen Shoulder and How To Recognize Them

The 3 Stages of a Frozen Shoulder and How To Recognize Them

Frozen shoulder, otherwise called adhesive capsulitis, is a physical condition in which the connective tissues near the shoulder joint thicken and tighten. This results in an ever-increasing amount of pain in this area and ultimately reduces your arm’s range of motion. Frozen shoulder isn’t particularly common among the general population, but an individual’s risk for developing it increases following other medical events. These are the three stages of frozen shoulder and how to recognize them.

The Freezing Stage

Frozen shoulder isn’t a condition that occurs suddenly. In fact, it often takes several months to fully develop within the shoulder joint. The process begins with the freezing stage, in which pain gradually builds as the connective shoulder tissues stiffen. The pain becomes more severe as time goes on, and the individual slowly loses their fine range of motion. So if you’re experiencing frequent and worsening pain in your shoulder, consider discussing the possibility of frozen shoulder with your doctor.

The Frozen Stage

As frozen shoulder sets in, the individual enters the frozen stage. During this time, some of the pain has usually subsided, but the severe stiffness in the shoulder joint remains. As such, performing daily activities can be incredibly difficult, and some tasks may prove impossible to complete on your own. This stage can last anywhere from four to six months, depending on the severity of the condition.

The Thawing Stage

The last of the three stages of frozen shoulder to be on the lookout for is the thawing phase. Once the individual works through the period of severe stiffness, their shoulder slowly starts to heal. In some cases, the shoulder can return to normal functioning after several months. However, many people find that physical therapy is one of the best methods for regaining their lost strength, dexterity, and motion. Full recovery can even take up to a couple years.

If you’re looking for relief from frozen shoulder or any other condition causing you physical pain, Therapydia can help. Our physical therapy office in Tanasbourne specializes in the treatment of several different aspects of physical health. Whether you’re recovering from an injury or simply looking to feel better, our team of experienced physical therapists will work with you to develop the perfect plan for your needs.

Jessica Jones

Physical Therapist

Jessica recently moved to Seattle from Boston, MA and is excited to join the Therapydia team. Her treatment experience includes orthopedics, sports medicine, pediatrics, and vestibular therapy. Jessica received her Doctorate in Physical Therapy from Northeastern University in Boston, MA in 2016. She has completed the Pediatric Physical Therapy Residency at Boston Children’s Hospital and is in the process of completing a Comprehensive Vestibular Rehabilitation certification. Jessica believes in empowering and inspiring patients to take control of their health through education, movement, and exercise. She enjoys treating patients of all ages and levels while utilizing soft tissue techniques, neuromuscular re-education, balance training as well as therapeutic exercise. In her free time, Jessica enjoys yoga, dancing, kayaking, and hiking with her dog!


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