Frozen shoulder is one of the most painful and debilitating conditions faced in the chiropractic clinic.
What's more it remains extremely painful,
and disabling, for a long time if not properly managed; up to
three years and longer.
Simple daily activities like taking off a t shirt or putting on a coat, and even combing one's hair become an ordeal. Sleep is invariably disturbed, which is why it gets such a high quick dash rating; see lower down.
Prevention is the key. Nip the pain in the bud before your shoulder turns to ice.
Shoulder pain is caused by many conditions. The majority, but not all, are the result of irritation of nerves in the lower neck or upper thoracic spine.
That is why chiropractic treats shoulder pain so successfully.
It is one of the more difficult conditions causing shoulder pain. It can be successfully treated with chiropractic, however the shrunken capsule, depending on how advanced the problem is, may take several months and very occasionally a whole year to resolve.
Medically, the condition is acknowledged to take up to three years to resolve.
And understanding of shoulder anatomy will help you grasp the complexity of this painful condition.
To give the arm the large range of motion it enjoys, the socket is shallow and there are four complex joints to give the shoulder stability. To understand why this joint gives such trouble some understanding of the shoulder anatomy will be instructive.
To deepen the socket there is a labrum which is often involved in the impingement syndromes. For example, a fall on the outstretched arm may tear the labrum. It can only be diagnosed on an mri or ultrasound scan.
See another photo of the man above at the bottom of this page.
Mobilisation of the acromioclavicular joint is central to the management of frozen shoulder.
Frozen shoulder is a relatively common and extremely painful chiropractic condition often associated with a first rib subluxation.
Searching for something specific like Rotator Cuff syndrome ? Type it in here...
You may have heard the term and may be wondering what is a frozen shoulder. Adhesive capsulitis, its medical name, is a condition that causes substantial loss of movement in the
shoulder. The joint capsule becomes shortened and tight, and
adheres to the bone, hence its medical name.
It is one of the most painful conditions treated in chiropractic clinics. Prevention is the word, but it can develop with frightening rapidity.
Arm pain treatments at the chiropractic coalface always begin with a search for irritation of the nerves from the lower neck to the muscles, tendons, ligaments or capsule is usually, but not always, central to this condition.
A diagnosis of adhesive capsulitis is often used for any painful shoulder condition associated with a loss of motion which is not strictly true.
The pain and disability in frozen shoulder are often extreme. Any and all movements of the upper arm, particularly internal rotation, become severely limited. Chiropractic treats the frigid capsule particularly successfully, but it remains a nuggety problem. There simply is no quick fix.
Often the cause lies elsewhere so the cervical spine, the first rib and the acromio clavicular joint must all be carefully examined.
The triceps muscle in the upper arm, and the subscapularis muscle beneath the shoulder blade are often involved.
A fine emulsion of calcium is sometimes deposited in the glenohumeral joint; it's called toothpaste shoulder for obvious reasons.
What are the symptoms of frozen shoulder? FS is characterized by a extreme loss of shoulder motion. Raising the arm, both forwards and sideways, and turning it inwards becomes very limited and extremely painful. Thus taking off a t shirt and particularly putting on a coat may cause extreme pain. Reaching the bra hook behind the back is quite impossible.
It is most common in the middle years around 40 to 50 and is twice as common in women as men.
This condition begins with just a little irritation in the shoulder, but rapidly enters the acute phase, characterised by extreme pain, sleep disturbance and functional impairment; you can't brush your teeth, get a cup out of the cupboard or clean the bath. Because chiropractic addresses function, it is able to treat frozen shoulder particularly well.
This is followed by a progressive stiffening phase as the shoulder motion worsens, particularly internal rotation, and raising the arm above the head. Extreme disability is common, with even simple everyday activities such as brushing the hair, dressing, and household work causing extreme shoulder pain. This phase may last several years if not properly treated.
The final phase, inadequately treated, often only begins after a year or two, with a mountain of frustration first to be experienced, is the resolution or thawing phase identified by the gradual return of both motion and function.
The overall course is variable but can last 12 to 36 months.
The arm pain Quick Dash score gives you a more objective measure of just how disabling your adhesive capsulitis really is.
It's a simple test based on a set of questions such as can you wash your back, and open a tight jar?
You can retake the the arm pain Quick Dash score in a month or two to assess just how successful the treatment is.
Any and all conditions of the human body are affected by a defective blood circulatory system and that includes FS. Insufficient oxygen means that tissues can't heal. Pathophysiology of atherosclerosis; hardening of the arteries explained in layman's terms.
While these common causes of frozen shoulder may seem quite different, they all result in one or more of the following:
All of the above may lead to inflammation in the shoulder joint capsule. This capsule includes the ligaments that attach the shoulder bones to each other.
"Frozen shoulder is very poorly diagnosed and managed."
Dr David Connell, a consultant in radiology at the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital in Stanmore.
When inflammation occurs within the capsule, there is less
ability for the shoulder bones to move freely within the joints (there
are four shoulder joints). For this reason a frozen shoulder is also
called an adhesive (scarred) capsulitis (inflamed joint capsule).
Ribs pertain correctly to the thoracic spine but
very occasionally a cervical rib may affect the nerve and blood supply
to the arm causing amongst other things frozen shoulder. Usually the
ribs are small and of little clinical significance, but every now and
then there's a giant.
Arm pain treatments are obviously dependent on the diagnosis; a pinched nerve in the cervical spine causing a brachial neuralgia would obviously be managed quite differently to a frozen shoulder.
Chiropractic Help treatment of frozen shoulder is directed at four domains:
Frozen shoulder exercises are an important part of keeping the condition from returning; they should be done gently, not exceeding the pain boundary.
Surgery should be avoided except in the most extreme cases. Steroid
injections may help but there is risk of infection and tendon rupture.
However manipulation under anaesthetic in extreme cases can have
For more information about the dangers of anaesthetics: ANAESTHETIC ALZHEIMERS.
Sleeping on the non-painful shoulder, with a pillow placed in front of the body for the painful arm, is advisable.
It took about four months before Mr S's shoulder settled down, and he admits himself that it only stabilised once he decided to do the exercises faithfully, continuing after the pain had nearly ceased. Four months and ten treatments.
A word of advice: if the FS has become chronic, the chiropractic regime of increased movement may initially cause increased pain. Don't be dismayed, just do the stretches more gently, more carefully, and perhaps fewer repetitions. Ironically, do more icing, followed by moist heat. Be patient! It will get better with chiropractic care. This is certainly one condition where the saying, Rome wasn't built in a day, applies.
Treatment of the neck alone is not adequate. If your chiropractor is not treating the shoulder itself, talk to him. Perhaps consider a change to a sports-oriented chiropractor.
The hinge acromioclavicular joint between the collar bone and the shoulder blade is often an underlying chicken and egg part of the frozen shoulder; but is it a cause or a consequence?
Nevertheless, in my experience, unless the AC joint is correctly mobilised, the arm never regains normal movement.
Do you follow the healthy living tips of life? Not terrified by going without insurance? Able and willing to deposit a fixed amount EVERY month into a dedicated "medical" account. Not a smoker? Ready to eat a healthy breakfast menu most days of the week?
Then perhaps you're ready for a Personal Medical insurance plan. You'll save a mint. But one serious car accident, breast cancer.... it can all go horribly wrong. Personal medical insurance is a very personal decision.
I'm uninsured....! I believe in personal medical insurance. But then I'm 100% committed to following a healthy lifestyle. Are you?
Even a nasty frozen shoulder shouldn't cost you more than 10-15 chiropractic treatments. Perhaps a lot less.
FROZEN SHOULDER TREATMENTS
- a systematic review of the literature
Literature reviews find there is no place for anti inflammatories in the treatment of FS. Vigorous mobilization of the joint, active and passive exercises reaching but not exceeding the pain threshold, deep muscle treatment and a invasive therapy known as hydrodilatation all appear to have some but limited benefit.
There is no research showing that chiropractic treatment helps (that I know of any way), yet it is one of the favourite conditions that I like to treat. But... Rome wasn't built in a day, nor is a chronic frozen shoulder fixed in a week. Come early, within two weeks, and with chiropractic help you can expect the pain to be over in a month, perhaps less. FS TREATMENTS - a literature review.
From the Chiropractic Coalface
It was good to see a lady yesterday who brought her husband for a torn calf muscle. He was unable to drive...
Two years ago she had a severely frozen left shoulder. She has almost no pain. Read more at Arm pain case histories ...
Do you have any questions about shoulder and/or arm pain that is not getting better? Share it, perhaps others have some insights that may be of benefit.
STOP: Are you writing on a cellphone? I DON'T RESPOND TO SMARTPHONE GRAMMAR. GOOGLE DOWNGRADES SITES WITH POOR ENGLISH AND I DON'T HAVE THE TIME AND INCLINATION TO CORRECT YOUR LETTER.
Click below to see contributions from other visitors to this page...
Collar bone cracking and pain
For a while now everytime I go to do a push up my right collar bone starts to pop and crack and it hurts. I never thought about it that much but I ride …
Chain of issues on right side of body: knot in right of neck, sternoclavicular joint popping, elbow tendon cracking on outside of elbow joint. Not rated yet
Chain of issues on right side of body: knot in right of neck, sternoclavicular joint popping, and elbow tendon cracking on outside of elbow joint suggests …
Frozen Shoulder in month 4 with no improvement Not rated yet
Frozen Shoulder in month 4 with no improvement must be very frustrating; this condition hurts a lot. I am now about to enter month 5 of suffering from …
Chest pain after frozen shoulder thawing? Not rated yet
Chest pain after frozen shoulder thawing is not atypical. I had adhesive capsulitis, with greatly reduced motion and painful almost electric jolts when …
Upper arm and backpain, reduced movement and kyphosis Not rated yet
Upper arm and backpain, reduced movement and kyphosis suggests a frozen shoulder. This is difficult to describe but I have had pain in my right shoulder …
Frozen shoulder with achiness Not rated yet
Frozen shoulder with achiness will always be a challenge. In short, I fell, injured my shoulder and was in a sling for about 7 weeks while waiting on …
Frozen shoulder and back neck pain is so discouraging Not rated yet
It's almost 3 months now that I have frozen shoulder that is getting worse; I went to an acupuncturist but after he put the needles for less than 10 minutes, …
unending horror of shoulder pain Not rated yet
Unending horror of shoulder pain. I was working as a Home Care Aide, and took my client to have a shower. That was the day she died. Putting her back …
agony in shoulder after lifting cabinets Not rated yet
Agony in shoulder after lifting cabinets, with loss of range of motion suggests a frozen shoulder. I was helping my aunt by moving very heavy metal …
Patient of Frozen Shoulder Not rated yet
In October 2015, I complained about pain in my left shoulder. The pain was intense, it hurt under my arm and I had shooting pain across my breast. …
Prevnar 13 vaccination provoking causalgia Not rated yet
Prevnar 13 vaccination provoking causalgia is rare but it's a nasty affliction. On June 10, 2015 I received a Prevnar 13 injection. By June 22 (My …
Frozen shoulders and other pains Not rated yet
Chiropractic Help homepage » Hip arthritis » Frozen shoulders and other pains Hello Dr.B had a fs 2012-2014 1st right then the …
frozen shoulder is a real pain Not rated yet
Chiropractic » rotator cuff syndrome » Frozen shoulder is a real pain It all started when I hit a cockroach with my sandal. And it was so painful, …
Frozen in FL. Not rated yet
I woke up with a stiff shoulder; it progressed over a couple days, and it started to be painful to move when laying down, and I couldn't move my arm behind …
month now of it :O Not rated yet
All did too was lifted some planters round the yard mind you they contained wet soil so that didnt help for weight; next morn woke up in severe pain and …
frozen shoulder? Not rated yet
I had a car accident in January this year; I broke my collar bone. I was put into a sling for 9 weeks to try to get it to heal on its own; it did not, …
Underlying conditions in frozen shoulder Not rated yet
Hi, I was wondering about the possibility of another illness causing my double frozen shoulder. I've been in PT for a month with no change. Just pain …
Frozen shoulder? Not rated yet
Hi there, I suffered a bad injury late sept 2013. I was hospitalised for two weeks due to post concussion syndrome and an onset of hemiplegic migraine …