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Complementary Therapists > Medical Conditions > Frozen Shoulder

Frozen Shoulder

What is Frozen Shoulder?

Frozen Shoulder which affects the joint capsule, is a shoulder joint with severely restricted movement and and is very painful. This medical condition is also known as adhesive capsulitis. The condition usually starts off with mild discomfort and progressively worsens over time until the pain is chronic and motion in all directions is significantly curtailed.

It is unusual for frozen shoulder to last for longer than two years. It should not be confused with other medical conditions that affect the shoulder such as cuff injury or shoulder tendonitis that affect the tendons and muscles. Diagnosis usually does not require invasive procedures or X-rays although some doctors may recommend an X-ray or and MRI scan to rule out the presence of other possible medical conditions.

What Causes Frozen Shoulder ?

The precise cause of frozen shoulder is not known however it is always accompanied inflammation of the joint capsule. The joint capsule of the shoulder joint has ligaments that hold the shoulder bones to each other. Inflammation of the capsule restricts the movement of the shoulder bones and causes pain. This medical condition may arise as a consequence of other underlying conditions or previous injury. Frozen shoulder has been associated with the following; shortening of the ligaments caused by poor posture, hormonal and genetic conditions like diabetes and hyperthyroidism, cervical disc disease of the neck, shoulder injury or surgery, and open heart surgery.

Symptoms of Frozen Shoulder

The symptoms of frozen shoulder usually include:

  • A dull aching pain that may become chronic
  • Severely restricted movement of the shoulder joint
  • Difficulty sleeping due to the combination of the pain and the immobility of the shoulder
  • Always use clean towels
  • Shower immediately after exercise to avoid sweat adding to the blockage of pores
  • Change and wash your pillow case frequently
  • If you are affected by frozen shoulder on your back, shoulders, or chest avoid tight clothing that might cause irritation
  • Do not go bed wearing make-up and do not use make-up products that are greasy
  • Three Stages of Frozen Shoulder

    Typically there are three stages of frozen shoulder:

    Freezing& Painful Stage: This is the onset of the condition and is usually the most painful stage and can last up to three months.

    Frozen Stage: During this period the pain may abate somewhat but the the stiffness becomes more severe. This stage may last for up to six months.

    Thawing Stage: This stage may last for more than twelve months as motion returns to the shoulder slowly.

    Frozen Shoulder Treatment

    To treat frozen shoulder many people initially turn to prescription drugs such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. These medications aid in the reduction of inflammation and pain-relief. Others such as Tylenol also may be effective for pain relief. Cortisone injections into the shoulder joint may help decrease pain and shorten symptom duration during the initial painful phase.

    Once the pain is under control massage is recommended to help break down any scar tissue that might be me contributing to your condition. Following this physical therapy is recommended to accelerate the return of motion to the shoulder joint. It is important to stretch both the posterior and anterior muscles of the shoulder.

    How to Prevent Frozen Shoulder

    If you are suffering from any of the causes mentioned above it is advisable, subject agreement by your doctor, to undertake a physical exercise regime to prevent the development of the frozen shoulder condition. Pilates is an excellent form of exercise for this.

    Complementary Treatments for Frozen Shoulder

    There is no cure for frozen shoulder once it has developed. Prevention measures and treatment of the condition are the most realistic avenues for most people. Conventional medicine has made some advances in diagnosing the causes of, and the treatment however very many people turn to complementary and alternative treatments.

    Such therapies include Reiki, Kinesiology, CranioSacral, and Homeopathy and are particularly successful in treating the symptoms of frozen shoulder. If you have tried conventional methods without finding a frozen shoulder cure there are a number of complementary therapists listed on this site that may have the solution to your difficulties.


    The material and information contained on this site is for educational purposes only. This information should not be interpreted as any form of medical advice. If you are experiencing any medical or health difficulties please consult with your doctor.

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