What is Frozen Shoulder?
Frozen shoulder (adhesive capsulitis) is a debilitating condition that causes stiffness, pain, and limited range of movement in your shoulder. It is caused by an inflammation and thickening of the ligaments and capsule of the shoulder. Inflammation and tissues around the joint stiffen which is the main cause of frozen shoulder. For example, when the ligaments are inflamed and thickened movement may become very difficult and you may experience severe pain. You may be unable to reach behind your back and it may cause you to wake up during the night.
Frozen shoulder has three stages; freezing, frozen and thawing. The first stage of a frozen shoulder is the most painful and as a result your treatment is mainly focused on relieving the pain. If you were to visit your GP you would most likely be prescribed a pain killer. However, taking painkillers, particularly NSAIDs, in the long term can increase your risk of side effects such as indigestion, stomach ulcers and increased blood pressure.
How does Acupuncture work?
Researches show that Acupuncture can effectively relieve your frozen shoulder pain and restore functionality. The natural painkiller Endorphins can be released when the needles are inserted into special acupoints around the capsule of the shoulder, such as JianYu, JianLiao and JianJin. Another way for addressing pain with acupoints is choosing acupoints along the particular meridian that transverses the painful part of the body. A good practitioner will successfully combine these two useful ways to treat the patients, so that the treatment sessions might be shorten and patients can recover more quickly. Having successfully treated hundreds of patients using traditional Chinese medicine and acupuncture in China, I’ve comprised my own 3 steps to treat Frozen Shoulder.
Jessie’s 3 Steps in Frozen Shoulder Treatment*
Step 1: Reduce pain
In the freezing and frozen stages, pain is the most severe symptom. Jessie chooses both acupoints around the pain part of the shoulder and other important acupoints along the meridians to help you heal. During the treatment, patients usually feel soreness in the pain areas or electrical tingling at the needling site. These feelings usually indicate De Qi, which is thought to increase the likelihood of successful treatment. De Qi is very important in Chinese acupuncture, so you don’t need to worry about these feelings, even though sometimes soreness or numbness may be lasted for one hour after treatment. Relieve pain stage includes 3 treatments within 2 weeks, and each treatment is 45 minutes. If your frozen shoulder also causes neck pain, the treatment may be increased to 4-5 times. After this stage of your treatment, pain will be reduced significantly.
Step 2: Relieve stiffness
Compared to acute pain, stiffness and limited range of movement are more chronic symptoms and it really needs to be treated properly. Otherwise your pain may repeat again in the not too distant future and may leave lasting damage. In this stage of treatment, Jessie chooses different acupoints such as JiQuan, JianZhen, NaoYu which are located around your shoulder capsule. This stage of your treatment requires a practitioner which has previous experience treating frozen shoulder to ensure you achieve maximum results. After acupuncture, Jessie does cupping from your neck to your shoulder to relax the muscles and relieve stiffness. This stage of your treatment usually takes 3-4 visits, and you may be treated once a week.
Step 3: Prevention
As you know, frozen shoulder is a chronic disease and easily recurs because of over-exercise, cold weather or lack of regular exercise. You may require regular treatments to avoid a reoccurrence. Daily practicing Tai Chi, Yoga, or stretching at home can maintain the good condition, and 30 minutes relaxation acupress once a week or 2 weeks in clinic is helpful as well.
If you are suffering from frozen shoulder now, Jessie is a Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioner and Acupuncturist. Book an appointment with Jessie today!
*Disclaimer: Please know that the results are a typical and may vary from person to person
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