Frozen Shoulder in month 4 with no improvement

by Anne
(Birmingham, Al)

A first rib fixation is often the underlying cause affecting both nerve and blood supply.

A first rib fixation is often the underlying cause affecting both nerve and blood supply.

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 chronic pain that is associated with frozen shoulder. I am a 59 yo female and have suffered from this condition in the past with the opposite shoulder which resulted in 3 surgeries because I believe the condition was misunderstood.
This time, as soon as the familiar frozen shoulder pain presented itself, I vowed to beat it without surgical intervention, therefore I contacted a sports medicine md here in Birmingham, Al. who treats patients without operating. She gave me a steroid shot and recommended physical therapy.
The physical therapy was relieving the pain somewhat, but the bills were extraordinary because of my high deductible. Eventually I quit the pt and attempted to replicate the regime at home as closely as possible.
My therapist followed up with me on the phone, and assured me the shoulder would improve if I kept up my routine.
I am becoming increasingly frustrated as I don't believe there has been significant change since day one.
My routine now is heat, warm up on the rowing machine for 7 min., stretching, very light weights, ice, Advil, and tens unit.
I noticed your demonstration of stretching exercises on this website and hope that I can incorporate those as well.
I plan to do some research on chiropractic treatment and determine what my out of pocket expenses would be.
I think I am just searching for words of encouragement as this condition is increasingly wearing on me both physically and mentally.
I would appreciate any comments about this condition.

Hello Anne,
I can understand your frustration and it's true that untreated a frozen shoulder can go on for a four years; enough to make anyone depressed. And the cost of treatment is indeed not insignificant, especially if it's not helping.

However, I do have some good news. Whilst so called 'straight' chiropractors who adjust only the spine won't get these kind of results, I have treated many hundreds of frozen shoulders and as a general rule the pain is reduced within a month by at least 50%. Full range of motion may never return but honestly if you lose 10% of flexion, you'll hardly notice it, if you have no pain. You can expect the ROM to largely return within a year.

Go to and see the side effects of advil, also known as ibuprofen; taken for a short period the risks are probably minimal but swallowed month after month, with no improvement makes no sense considering the dangers.

With you having had this before in the other shoulder one should also consider whether this isn't systemic. This is the time to get onto an anti inflammatory diet; there are many aspects of this but perhaps most important is to strictly reduce omega-6 oils and increase omega-3. A change to extra virgin olive oil, and either fatty fish or freshly ground flax seed would go a long way to helping.

There is often a deposit of 'toothpaste' in the shoulder joint itself; foods rich in magnesium like spinach on a daily basis would also be important.

Then there are the exercises; just do them very faithfully several times every day; the rule is you will feel it, but they mustn't cause pain.

The underlying cause of frozen shoulder, apart from diet, is often in the AC joint, a first rib or lower cervical fixation; without those being addressed you can expect it to go on for the full four years.

Contact your local chiropractic association and ask for the name of a DC with a FICS qualification; sports chiropractic.

Good luck, I hope this contributes; let us know in six weeks how you are getting on.

Dr B

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