Who Might Experience Frozen Shoulder?
The occurrence of frozen shoulder becomes more common over the age of 50. It seems to affect women more than men. It is seen to appear without injury. This can be very frustrating. But worse is the pain. Constant pain interferes with your quality of life. Without proper sleep our body doesn’t replenish itself, which further impedes healing. It can lead to emotional outbursts and harm our relationship with others. And you just can’t do the simplest of things like dressing, washing your hair or clipping your bra.
What is Frozen Shoulder?
The precise medical term is Adhesive Capsulitis of the shoulder. The cause in Western Medicine is unknown and Chinese medicine refers to it as “over fifty shoulder” simply because most suffers are over fifty years old who have stopped lifting their arm overhead. It complies with the old adage “use it or lose it”. But you don’t have to be over fifty and it may develop as the result of an injury. Many people use the term “frozen shoulder” to include any chronic condition where the range of motion of the shoulder is severely limited, like a rotator cuff injury. For the purpose of this article, I will include address the condition to include all conditions.
The primary symptom is pain somewhere in the shoulder (often the front) or arm (often the bicep) when lifting the arm past shoulder height. The amount and type of pain varies between people but it may be significant enough to disturb sleep. Many people use anti-inflammatory drugs to relieve the pain. This is not a treatment and long-term use of these drugs damages your health and can actually impede tissue regeneration. Although it will most likely resolve itself in 2yrs some people suffer longer and surgery is an offered option. Don’t put up with pain like that! TCM can help you.
Treatment of Frozen Shoulder with Acupuncture, Exercise and Chinese Herbs
TCM generally looks at this issue as the invasion of a Cold pathogen causing blockage or stagnation of Qi and Blood. It’s not surprising then that applying heat to the area (if no inflammation can be felt) brings relief from the pain. Treatment with acupuncture and herbs to warm and bring movement to the area has great results.
Another article relating to how Acupuncture treats chronic pain can be found here.
There are published studies that show acupuncture helps in the healing of Frozen Shoulder. My clients have experienced great relief after their first session, especially if it improves sleep. And I have found that a second session is most useful within a few days and again within the week. I recommend the use of a liniment (I often use Zhen Gu Shui) or herbal patch, keeping the shoulder warm and a range of simple exercises done several times a day. Committing to a treatment plan over several weeks offers a greater chance for a positive outcome.
Now when I see my clients down the street they raise their arm high and give me a big wave, with a smile not a grimace! Relief can come after only a few treatments.
Physical Pain with Emotional Baggage
Have you looked into any emotions issues that you haven’t resolved. We carry the world on our shoulders and sometimes it’s too much. There are many studies that show that our emotions effect us physically. Louise Hay has some great insights in her book “Heal Your Body” (http://www.hayhouse.com/). Life is not a burden. It is full of changes. Choose them to be joyful. And seek help to remove pain.
If you suffer from Frozen Shoulder there are several things you can do yourself. It is important to keep moving the arm/shoulder. There are a number of passive exercises that move the joint but don’t engage the muscles. Contact me if you’d like me to describe some. Use warming liniments and heat packs. Avoid greasy, fatty foods, cold and raw foods and iced drinks because you want to reduce inflammation and keep blood circulating. If you’ve had one frozen shoulder it’s probable that it may develop in the other, so keep them moving!
You deserve to live without pain so find yourself an Acupuncturist and grab life with 2 strong arms!