Frozen Shoulder

What is Frozen Shoulder?

Frozen Shoulder, also known as Adhesive Capsulitis is a condition affecting the capsule of the Glenohumeral Joint (shoulder joint). It is characterised by painful and restricted movements of the shoulder regardless of whether the shoulder is moved by the individual or by a therapist. Pain is caused by inflammation of the joint capsule and surrounding tissues which leads to changes in the capsule itself such as adhesions and contraction of the capsule leading to restricted motion.

What causes it?

There are two causes Primary (idiopathic) and Secondary. Primary Frozen Shoulder occurs for no apparent reason and is sometimes attributed to a minor strain but often the trigger is unknown. There is an association with Diabetes, heart disease, cervical disc disease as well as other medical conditions. Links have also been made to hormonal, genetic, auto-immune and postural factors. Secondary frozen shoulder is related to injuries to the shoulder or arm as well as to surgery to the shoulder and surrounding areas.

Effects of Frozen Shoulder

Frozen shoulder has three phases on average lasting 30 months in total, although there have been instances lasting up to 11 years. Phase one is the freezing (painful) stage and lasts on average 2-8 months. During this phase patients commonly complain of sharp pain in their shoulder whilst undertaking everyday activities such as combing their hair or doing a bra up. Pain is often particularly bad at night time and keeps the patient awake and they are unable to sleep on the afflicted side. Pain is often described as a dull burning pain inside the shoulder joint and this may be accompanied by pain along the outside of the arm. Second is the frozen (stiff) phase lasting 4-12 months.  In this phase pain usually reduces but the shoulder becomes progressively stiff and shoulder movement can become severely limited. The third (thawing) phase sees a gradual return of mobility over 4-12 months. Full mobility may return but this is not always guaranteed.

Treatment of Frozen Shoulder

85% cases can be treated in less than 8-10 sessions using the Niel-Asher Technique.


S. Niel-Asher. NAT and Frozen Shoulder Syndrome Part 1 of 4.

S. Niel-Asher. NAT and Frozen Shoulder Syndrome Part 2 of 4.

S. Niel-Asher. NAT and Frozen Shoulder Syndrome Part 3 of 4.

S. Niel-Asher. NAT and Frozen Shoulder Syndrome Part 4 of 4.