Frozen shoulder, also called adhesive capsulitis, means your shoulder is painful and stiff for months, sometimes years. Over time, the shoulder becomes very hard to move.
If you have frozen shoulder, you’ll likely feel a dull or achy pain in one shoulder. You might also feel the pain in the shoulder muscles that wrap around the top of your arm. You might feel the same sensation in your upper arm. Your pain could get worse at night, which can make it hard to sleep. The hallmark signs of this condition are severe pain and being unable to move your shoulder.
Frozen shoulder happens more often in women than men, and you’re more likely to get it if you’re between the ages of 40 and 60. Your risk might also go up if you’re in the process of recovering from a medical condition like a stroke, or surgery like a mastectomy that keeps you from moving your arm. Certain medical conditions can increase your risk too. You may also be more likely to get frozen shoulder if you have diabetes. Other medical problems like heart disease, thyroid disease, or Parkinson’s disease are linked to frozen shoulder, too.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), frozen should is belong to “BI-Syndrome”. it is mainly related to deficiency of Qi & Blood, invasion of external Wind, Damp, Heat and Cold pathogens, and traumatic strain.
The treatment principle is promoting Blood, unblock meridians, relaxing muscle and relieving pain. We may use acupuncture, cupping, Chinese herbal medicine, Tui-Na (massage) to treat.
1, Acupucnture (and Cupping):
Acupuncture can help in the treatment of frozen shoulder, by:
Stimulating nerves located in muscles and other tissues, which leads to release of endorphins and other neurohumoral factors, and changes the processing of pain in the brain and spinal cord (Pomeranz, 1987, Zijlstra 2003, Zhao 2008, Cheng 2009);
Reducing inflammation, by promoting release of vascular and immunomodulatory factors (Kim 2008, Kavoussi 2007, Zijlstra 2003);
Enhancing local microcirculation, by increasing the diameter and blood flow velocity of peripheral arterioles (Komori 2009).
One research shows, acupuncture causes improvement of all movements of the shoulder, but about flexion and abduction the improvement was evaluated to be more. (M Asheghan, etc. 2016)
Commonly used acupoints for frozen shoulder are: LI 14, LI 15, SI 9, SJ 14, GB 21, Jianqian (EX-UE12), etc.
2, Chinese herbal medicine:
For decocting and drinking, with the treatment principles of dispelling wind and cold, relieving spasms and pain, unblock ing the meridians, and promoting blood circulation, the commonly used formulas are: "San Bi Tang" and "Shen Tong Zhu Yu Tang",etc.
3, Tui-Na (Massage):
Mainly use Tui-Na manipulations such as "rolling, kneading, pulling, shaking, rubbing", which can relax muscles, remove blood stasis, relieve spasm and pain, improve local blood circulation, loosen adhesions, smooth joints, and promote and restore shoulders Joint functional activities.
4, MOXA and herbal heat patch:
The main function is to dispel the cold and dampness, remove blood stasis to unblock the meridians, and relieve pain.
1, Avoiding cold and keeping warm
Cold and dampness constantly invade the body, it can cause muscle tissue and small blood vessels to contract, muscle tissue is stimulated and spasm occurs, which aggravates the pain and prolongs the course of the disease. Therefore, it is very important to prevent frozen shoulders in daily life, especially to avoid cold.
For frozen shoulders, joints exercises are very important. You can often practice Tai Ji, or perform other exercises such as hanging arms, swinging hands, scorpion climbing walls, and pulling hands behind the body at home. But it should be done step by step to avoid the damage to the shoulder joint and soft tissues.
3, Correct posture
For those who do lots desk work, or always keep their shoulders in abduction position, they should adjust their postures to avoid joints damage caused by long-term bad postures.
The best way to prevent frozen shoulder is to avoid keeping your shoulder still for a long time. And get treatment as early as possible if you injure your shoulder or develop shoulder pain that limits your range of movement.