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Frozen Shoulder

What is it?

A frozen shoulder is a very painful condition where your shoulder becomes severely restricted.  It is arguably the most painful shoulder problem to get.

It mainly effects people in their 50’s and 60’s in fact the Japanese even refer to it as ‘50’s shoulder’!

You can experience it in your 40's but it is very rare to get it when you are younger than that.  Another term sometimes used for a frozen shoulder is adhesive capsulitis.

Is it frozen or does it just hurt?

It is often misdiagnosed by doctors and physiotherapists.  The main 3 signs are:

  1. Severe shoulder pain
  2. You cannot turn your forearm out away from your body
  3. You cannot raise your arm above shoulder height.

And when we say you cannot move it, we mean - because it physically won’t go, not just because it is painful.

Why have I got it?

Good question.  As a medical profession we actually don’t know!   It generally just occurs for no reason, but sometimes it is triggered following an injury.  We know that it is more prevalent in diabetics, and in people who have a Dupuytrens contracture,  but further than that we are not sure.

What is happening?

Despite us not knowing why it happens , we do know what happens. The capsule lining of the shoulder joint normally allows full normal shoulder flexibility.  In a frozen shoulder the capsule becomes inflamed, swollen, contracted and the capsule loses it's normal elasticity.  This leads to severe pain.

The 3 Phases:

There are said to be 3 phases to the condition.

  1. Freezing - This is the very painful phase and pain can be worse at night
  2. Frozen - The pain starts to reduce but you find more limitation of shoulder movement
  3. Thawing - Pain eases and most of the movement returns

What can be done?

The current evidence offers the following advice and treatment options:

  1. Pain relief - use pain killers and anti inflammatories
  2. Injection - this can be very helpful in the early phase for pain relief
  3. Physiotherapy - to prevent any further stiffness and to regain you r shoulder range of movement
  4. Hydrodilatation - injection of a solution into the shoulder. Despite that this procedure can be painful it appears to be effective at reducing pain and improving range of movement.
  5. Manipulation under anaesthetic - brutal but can be effective. Effectively they put you to sleep and wrench your shoulder about!
  6. Capsular release/Arthroscopic (keyhole surgery) debridement - this is very effective but you will require physiotherapy shoulder rehab afterwards.

Physiotherapy treatment and time usually resolve things although it can take up to 2 years!

Depending what job you do for a living you may not be able to wait around and therefore surgery may be an option to consider.

Do I need a shoulder injection?

There is good evidence for injection for pain relief in the acute painful phase of the process but after that there may not be much benefit.  The injection will not ‘unfreeze’ your shoulder though unfortunately.


People in pain often leave it a long time before asking for help,

they don't know what is wrong, and worry about the future.

We specialise in modern physio to help people

live the life they want and keep doing the things they love.

Tell us how your shoulder pain affects you:


    5 Top Shoulder Pain FACTS


      Shoulder pain making your life miserable?

      End your shoulder pain and stiffness with our expert help


      We'll help you find out what's wrong

      We'll give you peace of mind so that you are confident and know you are safe to keep moving

      We'll help you to keep active

      Stay healthy and do what you love whether its walking, running, playing sports or chasing after your kids all day!


      We'll help you to stay free from painkillers

      No more reaching for the medicine cabinet. PLUS - they're no good for your long term health anyway, they don't actually do anything to fix the problem, they just mask it

      We'll help you to avoid unnecessary surgery

      We’ll quickly help you understand the root-cause of what’s going on so you can learn most things get better without surgery instead of it being the first and only option


      We'll help you to get more enjoyment out of life!

      Relax and enjoy the quality time with your family and friends that aches and
      pains can steal from you, and finally get a good night sleep without tossing and turning

      We have helped thousands of people get better from shoulder pain.

      From a 1 week episode to 10 years worth of pain. It’s the third most common problem that we see in our physio clinic in Macclesfield Cheshire.

      When it comes to shoulder pain, it feels like everyone has an opinion on what’s best for you. It can be confusing to know who to listen to and who to trust. Most of the advice is often out of date.

      One thing that is certain about shoulder back pain is that YOUR shoulder pain and the contributing factors to it are individual to you. So what might have worked for a friend will not work for you.

      If one treatment worked for everyone then shoulder pain would not be the problem it is!

      Frequently heard problems

      Here are some things that our clients have said to us about their
      shoulder pain before they came to us.

      “I have tried other treatment in the past but nothing they said or did seemed to help”

      Mark - 52

      'I thought it would just go away, but it didn't'

      Suzanne - 43

      “Pain killers have not got rid of my pain”

      Margie - 72

      “Someone told me shoulder pain is a sign of aging and I just accepted it!”

      Kenny - 68

      “I have tried exercise videos for shoulder pain but they don’t help and sometimes make it worse”

      Alex - 23

      We have helped over
      satisfied customers!

      I recently saw Hogan & Mitchell over a long term shoulder issue I've been experiencing. A a detailed assessment was carried out and the issue was patiently explained, how it was caused and the treatment needed to address it. Within a month I've seen a massive improvement; in fact I'm no longer having any restriction or pain. Highly recommended.

      Kevin I.

      I have suffered from neck and shoulder pain for many years and always found even simple gardening jobs almost impossible due to the resulting pain, stiffness and discomfort. However, since seeing Hogan & Mitchell I am virtually pain free. This was highlighted to me recently when I dug out heavy clay soil and laid patio bricks without any repercussions, something which would not have happened a year ago. I can now carry on doing jobs which had become impossible.

      Liz E.

      The "Get Rid of Your Shoulder Pain Plan"

      1. Book an appointment
      2. Get a diagnosis
      3. Get a bespoke treatment & rehab plan
      4. Carry out the plan (important!)
      5. Get better!

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      The Hogan & Mitchell Guarantee

      1. We promise to listen to you and explain your problem in a way that makes sense to you, and tell you how long it will take to get better

      2. We promise to be honest about what will & won’t help you

      3. We promise you a positive experience of what real modern physio is and what we can help you achieve, WITHOUT machines or acupuncture!

      4. We promise that if we cannot solve your problem, we will put you in touch with the right person who can.



      Pain problem? Talk to us

      01625 422 855