Acupuncture for Frozen Shoulder

 

Acupuncture for Frozen Shoulder

Frozen Shoulder, also known as Adhesive Capsulitis, is a medical condition which usually affects one shoulder and greatly limits it's movement, as well as creating huge amounts of pain. 

 

It's an unusual condition in which the exact cause is not exactly known however, there is a close link with diabetes. Diabetics are reportedly twice as likely to develop Frozen Shoulder for unknown reasons. Other risk factors include trauma, previous surgery, Dupuytren's Contracture, heart & lung disease, stroke, heart attacks & breast cancer. It rarely affects anyone under the age of 40.

 

Frozen shoulder begins with a loss of movement affecting the shoulders movement. In order of most affected to least these are:

 

  • External rotation (rotating your shoulder/arm outwards)

 

  • Abduction (lifting your arm out sideways from your body)

 

  • Flexion  (lifting your arm out forwards from your body)

 

These 3 classic signs of Frozen Shoulder is what is known as the capsular pattern.

It's Not Only Food That Can Be Freezing, Frozen and Thawed!

These are the 3 stages of Frozen Shoulder.

 

The symptoms begin with the Freezing Stage which can last anywhere from 6 weeks right up to 9 months. During this time the pain can be quite intense, and range of motion (ROM) will gradually decrease. During the initial weeks of the freezing stage, it can be difficult to diagnose a shoulder problem as Frozen Shoulder.

 

The next stage is the Frozen Stage. It is here that the movement of the shoulder is at it's worst, but pain slowly starts to improve. This can take 4-9 months.

 

The Thawing Stage is the final stage of Frozen Shoulder. This is where pain dissappears and ROM returns. It will take from 5 months up to a whopping 26 months for this to happen.

 

So to recap, in a best case scenario for Frozen Shoulder/Adhesive Capsulitis to run it's course it will take about 10 months. Worse case you're looking at 3 years & 9 months.

What Can Be Done About Frozen Shoulder

Frozen shoulder is an unusual condition in the way that it's self limiting and usually resolves itself without the need for surgery. Most doctors will tell you that it can't be completely fixed, and you just have to wait it out until it fixes itself. For most of us, the prospect that we'll potentially have this pain & loss of movement for almost 4 years is quite frightening.

 

Regular medical treatment includes cortisone injections or NSAID's to help with the pain. Surgery can be an option is bad cases, but it not routinely recommended.

 

Currently there is no clear cut way of dealing with Frozen Shoulder. Well, that is according to mainstream medicine...

How Can Acupuncture Help Frozen Shoulder?

Acupuncture has been used time & time again to treat this debilitating condition. Anecdotal evidence has even shown that in as little as 2-4 treatments there can be massive improvement and in some instances it can be completely resolved.

 

Long before Western medicine discovered a link between type 2 diabetes and Frozen Shoulder, the Traditional Chinese Medicine approach dealt with Frozen Shoulder from a systemic point of view, looking at the condition more wholistically. Organs such as the gallbladder and liver are usually taken in to consideration as some of the main drivers of Frozen Shoulder.

 

Further reading

http://aim.bmj.com/content/17/1/9.full.pdf+html

 

http://www.theacupunctureclinic.co.nz/acupuncture-for-frozen-shoulder-a-collection-of-ideas-by-heiko-lade/

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