Frozen Shoulder Syndrome

Frozen shoulder occurs when the connective tissue enclosing the joint thickens and tightens. Signs and symptoms typically begin slowly, then get worse. Over time, symptoms get better, usually within 1 to 3 years. Symptoms include stiffness and pain in the shoulder joint.



Frozen Shoulder Syndrome (FSS), scientifically known as adhesive capsulitis, refers to the stiffness, pain, and loss of mobility in the shoulder—hence the name 'frozen shoulder.' This condition develops when the connective tissue in the shoulder joint thickens and swells, making it difficult to move the shoulder and connecting arm.


It's unclear why it develops in some and not others. But, people who experience immobility of the arm after a surgery or injury, have systemic diseases like diabetes, or have a weakened immune system are more prone to developing FSS.


Frozen shoulder syndrome is typically found in people ages 40-60, and without treatment, FSS tends to worsen over time. Frozen shoulder syndrome symptoms develop in three stages: freezing, frozen, and thawing, and each can last up to months.


  • Freezing stage. The freezing stage is a slow process where your shoulder begins locking or 'freezing' up. The movement of the shoulder starts to become painful and stiff, and the range of motion in your shoulder begins to decrease. This pain may worsen during the night leading to difficulty sleeping.

  • Frozen stage. The shoulder is ultimately seized up. Movement is possible but incredibly challenging during this time. For some, pain may diminish at this stage.

  • Thawing stage. Slowly the range of motion starts to return, and the shoulder begins to lose its stiffness.


The first step to treating Frozen shoulder syndrome is visiting your primary care doctor for an assessment to ensure no other underlying medical conditions are the root cause. Most cases of frozen shoulder can go away on their own over time. However, this period can last from 6-12 or even 18 months long, and you may never get your full range of motion back.


The long recovery period makes it challenging to do everyday activities and go to work, especially if it involves lifting objects or handling heavy machinery. Forcefully using the affected arm or shoulder before it's fully healed can lead to even worse damage.


Chiropractic treatment can effectively speed up recovery, help manage symptoms, and improve one's quality of life. Chiropractic therapy can help alleviate pain from FSS and improve one's range of motion through joint adjustments, stretching of target areas, and recommended exercises. For a Coquitlam or Port Moody Chiropractor, book a visit at Inspine Therapy for a qualified practitioner who can create a custom recovery plan just for you!

What causes frozen shoulder syndrome?


It's unclear why frozen shoulder syndrome develops, but it is commonly found in:

  • People who have immobility of the shoulder or arm from an injury like a broken arm or rotator cuff injury

  • People who've had a stroke

  • People who are recovering from surgery

  • People with systemic diseases like diabetes, tuberculosis, or Parkinson's disease.


How do you prevent frozen shoulder?


As stated above, the most common cause of frozen shoulder syndrome is immobility from surgery. To prevent frozen shoulder syndrome from developing, work with your doctor to see if you can practice exercises that maintain circulation and your range of motion. As well as, treating underlying diseases, like diabetes, is the best first step in prevention.


Need An Appointment?


Inspine Therapy is a multi-disciplinary clinic located in the heart of Coquitlam and Port Moody. We care about providing fundamental healing through all-in-one care that focuses on helping you recover, improve, and optimize your health until you're in the best condition possible.

Our services include massage therapy, chiropractic therapy, acupuncture, active rehab, clinical counselling, and pilates. Visit our newly renovated clinic and book your appointment today!