Acupuncture & Frozen Shoulder

The technical name for Frozen Shoulder is adhesive capsulitis. It is one of those mysterious conditions that no one really knows the cause of. There are factors which appear to raise your risk, such as having diabetes or a thyroid condition, but sometimes frozen shoulder occurs in people who don’t have any of the common risk factors.

Generally, sufferers of Frozen Shoulder are middle-aged people. In fact, in Chinese the condition is called “50 Years’ Shoulder” because 50 is about the age it strikes. There are three stages associated with Frozen Shoulder:

1. Freezing – This is the most painful stage. You feel pain, usually worse at night than during the day, and begin to lose range of motion in the afflicted shoulder.

2. Frozen – The pain is less, but so is the ability to move.

3. Thawing – Range of motion begins return, but very slowly. The thawing stage can last as long as a year.

As is implied in the list of the three stages, Frozen Shoulder will likely resolve itself, but over a long period of time. Many sufferers have found acupuncture to be a viable and successful treatment option because acupuncture stimulates the body’s self-healing properties and so helps speed up the natural healing cycle.

Several formal studies have been done since the early 1990s evaluating acupuncture as a treatment for Frozen Shoulder, with a few being randomized, controlled studies. In all of the studies acupuncture was shown to provide greater relief for more of the participants than other forms of treatment.

Practitioners of Western medicine such as Medical Doctors, Osteopaths and Physiotherapists usually suggest treating Frozen Shoulder with drugs such as ibuprophen and steroids, physical therapy, and eventually surgery. Surgery is not a frequently used method of treatment, but when the pain and limited range of motion begin to take their toll, patients are often willing to do anything that alleviate it.

As with many other conditions and ailments that seem to defy the powers of Western medicine, acupuncture offers an alternative, and usually successful, option. If you are feeling shoulder pain, make an appointment with Wayne. He is experienced in recognizing, diagnosing and treating Frozen Shoulder.