Physical Therapy for Frozen Shoulder: Improve Pain & Motion

right shoulder in pain on beach

Physical for Frozen Shoulder: Regain Mobility and Relieve Pain


Living with a frozen shoulder, otherwise known as adhesive capsulitis, can cause considerable discomfort and limit the range of motion. Fortunately, physical therapy is an effective approach for those seeking relief from its painful symptoms. 

In this article, we will discuss what to expect during physical therapy for frozen shoulder syndrome, the types of exercises used, and recovery time. We will also provide additional tips for managing your symptoms. By working closely with your physical therapist, you can effectively address the underlying causes of your pain and set the foundation for lasting relief. 

What to Expect at Physical Therapy 

If you’re experiencing discomfort due to a frozen shoulder or any musculoskeletal disorder, your doctor may suggest physical therapy to help you regain mobility. At your initial session, your physical therapist will assess your movement patterns, tenderness, and pain to identify the root of your trouble. They will discuss how to reach mobility goals, manage pain, delve into your medical history, and review any current medications. 

After the evaluation process, treatment sessions will begin to help improve the range of motion and reduce pain. During these sessions, your therapist will work with you to create a personalized treatment plan tailored to your individual needs. With the proper guidance and care, physical therapy can provide you with the tools to return to your normal activities and improve your overall quality of life. 

Types of Exercises Used in Physical Therapy 

List of exercises for physical therapy of frozen shoulder syndrome: 

  • Rotator cuff strengthening exercises – These include arm circles and external rotation stretches with bands or weights. They help increase the strength and mobility of the shoulder joint. 
  • Stretching exercises – Pendulum swings help to stretch the shoulder joint and improve flexibility. 
  • Postural training – Helps correct the posture which can reduce tension on the shoulder and improve stability. 
  • Electrical stimulation from TENS units – Targets specific muscles to reduce pain and improve the strength of the shoulder joint. 

How Long Does Recovery Take? 

Recovering from frozen shoulder syndrome through physical therapy hinges on several factors such as severity, patient age, adherence to home exercises, and more. Recovery time ranges from 2 to 9 months or longer depending on individual response. Consistent home exercise and following the therapist’s advice can speed it up. To ensure optimal results, each case is unique and requires close adherence to the therapist’s plan. 


Physical therapy is a proven treatment for frozen shoulder pain. Consistent physical therapy can reduce pain, improve mobility, and restore strength. Adhering closely to a therapist’s advice is the key to lasting results and improved quality of life.