How acupuncture could help rid frozen shoulder
Frozen shoulder – otherwise known as adhesive capsulitis – has been ranked as one of the worst pains to endure, according to the NHS*.
The painful debilitating condition makes your shoulder stiff and can cause a constant dull or achy pain in the area. In many cases, frozen shoulder means it is virtually impossible to carry out simple movements, like raising your arm. It can also stop you from doing everyday activities like driving, dressing or sleeping. And there’s more bad news – if left untreated the condition can persist for several years.Osteopath Denise Callaghan, who has more than 20 years’ experience in the industry, said: “I have treated lots of patients for frozen shoulder. It happens when the tissue around your shoulder joint becomes inflamed. This tissue gets tighter and shrinks. This causes the pain.
“The shoulder is a ball and socket joint which has a large range of movement. Such a mobile joint tends to be more susceptible to injury.”
Who suffers from frozen shoulder?
According to The British Acupuncture Society, frozen shoulder is most common in people aged 40 to 60, with women more likely to suffer than men. In up to 20% of those affected, the condition will develop in the other shoulder too.
What is the cause/s of frozen shoulder?
There are a couple of common reasons for frozen shoulder to occur:
- A shoulder injury or surgery that keeps you from manoeuvring the arm for long periods of time.
- It’s also common in people who have type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
How can you ease the pain of frozen shoulder?
To help ease the dreaded pain of frozen shoulder, the NHS suggests there are a few things you could try:
- Keeping an upright posture and your shoulders gently back
- Moving your shoulder – keeping it still will make the pain worse
- Using heat or cold packs on your shoulder
But acupuncture – which is a form of alternative medicine in which thin needles are inserted into the body – can help unfreeze your shoulder too.
How can acupuncture help with frozen shoulder?
As acknowledged by The British Acupuncture Society, acupuncture can reduce pain, inflammation and rid the body of muscle and joint stiffness. Therefore, it can help in the treatment of frozen shoulder by:
- Stimulating nerves located in muscles and other tissues, which leads to release of endorphins and other neurohumoral factors, and changes the processing of pain in the brain and spinal cord (Pomeranz, 1987, Zijlstra 2003, Zhao 2008, Cheng 2009)
- Reducing inflammation, by promoting release of vascular factors and modulation of the immune system (Kim 2008, Kavoussi 2007, Zijlstra 2003);
- Enhancing local microcirculation, by increasing the diameter and blood flow velocity of peripheral arterioles (Komori 2009).
One patient, Carole Smith, said: “I am so grateful to Denise Callaghan. Having a shoulder problem causing a lot of pain and discomfort, my doctor sent me to physiotherapy, paid for by the NHS.
“I was seen every three weeks and given new exercises each time, but it was not beneficial at all. In fact, it increased my discomfort.
“After seeing Denise Callaghan. I felt an improvement more of less straight away and now I fell fully recovered without the need for hydrocortisone injections or surgery.”
If you are suffering from shoulder problems, like a frozen shoulder, please don’t suffer in silence. During this lockdown, Osteopaths are considered as essential workers therefore Denise’s Kent clinic remains open and is COVID-safe. Get in touch to book a consultation today.