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What causes frozen shoulder?

Frozen shoulder is also known as adhesive capsulitis and is caused by an inflammation of the connective tissue of the joint. Too much tension in surrounding muscles e.g. pectoralis or latissimus dorsi can pull on the shoulder and lead to friction of the capsule. It is also thought that there may be an autoimmune component to the condition.

This is very interesting because from a TCM perspective the large intestine channel travels through the front of the shoulder and down through the arm. The large intestine or gut is thought to house much of the immune system responses for the body. It is not uncommon with frozen shoulder that there is an associated inflammatory gut condition.

How do we treat it?

The combination of acupuncture and massage is often very effective in the treatment of Adhesive Capsulitis. Trigger point massage is effective in releasing tension in the local muscles and acupuncture helps to move energy more effectively. Initially we work on drawing the local stagnation. We may also use cupping therapy to draw stagnation from the local muscles.

Distal points may also be effective in treating frozen shoulder; sometimes the most effective points to use are actually on the leg.

How many treatments does it take?

From a western medical perspective it may take as long as 6 to 9 months for complete recovery. Physical therapy is intense and needs to be done every day. Left untreated, the condition often gets better by itself within 2 years with little loss of motion.

 However, I have seen patients improve dramatically in one acupuncture treatment, although it usually requires longer to restore full functionality.

The number of treatments required varies from patient to patient; however, depending on severity and chronicity, patients often experience a noticeable improvement in pain and mobility after one or two sessions.

my shoulders are free!!!