Frozen shoulder results from the inflammatory process that causes the shoulder joint capsule to contract and thicken. Frozen shoulder, or adhesive capsulitis, often includes a variety of conditions that cause pain and limit the range of motion of the shoulder joint and arm.
Occurring mainly in middle-aged people with prior shoulder injuries, frozen shoulder is a common disorder which may cause pain severe enough to disturb sleep patterns as well as an inability to rotate the shoulder properly or move the arm away from the body.
No therapy has yet been determined to treat the condition most effectively. Initial stages of treatment aim to increase motion range and reduce inflammation. Conventional therapies utilized may include steroid injections, analgesic and anti-inflammatory medications, isometric exercises, and stretching.
Physical therapies such as chiropractic and osteopathic techniques, massage therapy and heat application may also be recommended.
Acupuncture for the treatment of frozen shoulder can cause fewer adverse side effects than the use of analgesics and anti-inflammatory medications.
A recent study compared the use of acupuncture and exercise to exercise alone in a group of frozen shoulder patients. The study, published in the Hong Kong Medical Journal, produced data indicating that patients treated with acupuncture and exercise demonstrated significantly greater improvement on shoulder assessment tests than those using just exercise. Findings of the study suggest that acupuncture may be useful in cases where conventional therapies have been ineffective.
Acupuncture for frozen shoulder may select both local and distal acupoints for treatment. Local points at the shoulder and on the affected meridians along the arms and hands are often chosen. Distal acupoints below the knees as well as additional distal points on the affected side of the body may be used. Massage therapy and shoulder exercises may be recommended by your acupuncture physician to supplement acupuncture treatment.
Acupuncture & Massage College’s Community Clinic offers acupuncture and massage therapy for the treatment of frozen shoulder, as well as for many other acute and chronic pain conditions. To schedule an appointment at the Clinic call (305) 595-9500. For information about AMC’s Oriental Medicine and Massage Therapy programs ask for Joe Calareso, Admissions Director.