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84 Burnett St Bundaberg

How To Alleviate Your Frozen Shoulder

frozen shoulder

Are you suffering from adhesive capsulitis, or frozen shoulder? This condition can be painful and limiting, sometimes for years on end.  

If you’re looking to understand why frozen shoulder occurs and what you can do to alleviate it, we’ve got you covered. 

What is frozen shoulder? 

Frozen shoulder occurs when the connective tissue capsule around the shoulder thickens and tightens. This restricts the movement of the bones, ligaments, and tendons in the shoulder area. 

There are 3 main stages of the condition: 

  1. Freezing – when movement of the shoulder causes pain, and the range of motion in the joint becomes limited 
  1. Frozen – pain may reduce compared to the first stage, but the shoulder is stiffer and harder to use or move 
  1. Thawing – the range of motion begins to improve and eventually resolves 

Although most cases of frozen shoulder will improve even without treatment, it can take many months or even years for it to self-resolve. 

You may also notice other symptoms such as worse pain at night and resulting insomnia, and pain in nearby areas such as the neck. 

In most cases, frozen shoulder is diagnosed from your signs and symptoms alone. However, your GP may suggest tests such as an X-ray or MRI to rule out other potential causes before diagnosing you. 

What causes frozen shoulder? 

It’s not quite clear what causes frozen shoulder. However, there are some known risk factors that increase your risk of developing the condition, including: 

  • Age (40+) 
  • Sex (females are at a higher risk) 
  • Reduced mobility or immobility due to rotator cuff injury, stroke, a broken arm or recovery from surgery 
  • Diabetes 
  • Thyroid disease (overactive or underactive) 
  • Heart disease 

As with any condition, the best treatment is prevention. It’s particularly important if you do have reduced mobility due to injury or surgery that you take steps to keep your shoulder as mobile as possible throughout your recovery. Make sure you consult with your healthcare professional and find out the best exercise program to support your specific case. 

How is frozen shoulder treated? 

When it comes to a frozen shoulder, the focus is on reducing your pain and encouraging your range of motion. 

Reducing inflammation 

As there is often inflammation involved in a frozen shoulder, this is one of the first areas to look at. Your doctor may prescribe anti-inflammatory medications or even injections to help with symptom relief.  

If you prefer to use alternatives to medication or want options to reduce your inflammation even further, there are ways to reduce inflammation naturally. We’ve shared some of our favourite ways to tackle inflammation here. 

Increasing range of motion 

To help recover your mobility and prevent any further loss, your health practitioner can prescribe exercises that help with range of motion. It’s important to stay consistent with these as per their recommendations if you want to see improvements. 

Research suggests that exercising within the limits of pain and range of motion can help to return you to near-normal painless shoulder motion. It found that 64% of people engaging in these types of exercise reached this state at 12 months and 89% by 24 months. 

Manual therapies such as massage and acupuncture 

Another way to work on inflammation and mobility is to incorporate physical therapies. Remedial massage and acupuncture are commonly used by people looking to manage their frozen shoulder. 

Remedial massage may help your symptoms by relieving tension in the nearby muscles and supporting a healthier range of motion in the joint. 

Research suggests that acupuncture may help with pain reduction, restoring shoulder function and restoring flexion range of movement. More long-term research is needed to confirm these findings. However, other studies suggest that acupuncture may have anti-inflammatory properties, which could explain why it helps to relieve symptoms of pain. 

Looking to alleviate your frozen shoulder? The team at Burnett House are happy to help you on your way back to feeling good again! 

Our acupuncturist Jamie combines acupuncture with other tools such as dry needling and remedial massage to relieve symptoms such as pain and stress naturally. 

You may also like to work with our naturopath Trish, who can look at diet and lifestyle factors that can help to address any underlying inflammation or stress that is contributing to your pain. 

To book an appointment with Jamie or Trish at our Bundaberg clinic, book an appointment online here or call us on (07) 41522372 

© 2019 by Burnett House
84 Burnett St
Bundaberg South QLD 4670
ABN: 88 973 250 774
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