Frozen Shoulder

Acupuncture for Frozen Shoulder

Frozen shoulder – otherwise known as Adhesive Capsulitis, is characterised by inflammation and adhesions that restrict movement and cause pain of the shoulder. Classically frozen shoulder pain gets worse at night. Symptoms may include restriction of movement, pain in the shoulder, pain or shooting sensations that radiate either down the arm or into the neck or tingling in the hands.

There may possibly be a history of an injury to the shoulder such as an infraspinatous tear, but commonly there has just been a gradual onset of symptoms.
Commonly, there are three phases

  • Pain with stiffness
  • Less pain, severe stiffness
  • Minimal pain, gradual increase in mobility

Some Facts about Frozen Shoulder:

The incidence of frozen shoulder in women is greater than in men, and occurs more often over the age of 50. The clinical features are of pain with a significant reduction of both passive and active movements, and pronounced sleep disturbance.

Frozen shoulder is more common in the non-dominant arm.

Although the exact pathology is unknown, the onset of frozen shoulder is usually gradual, but it may be acute and associated with previous history of minor injury to the shoulder joint

In most cases frozen shoulder is unilateral, but it can be bilateral.
Frozen shoulder can induce secondary spasm in the pectoralis and biceps muscles.

Acupuncture is a highly effective treatment for treating frozen shoulder, improvement should be felt after the first treatment and the benefits of all subsequent treatments are accumulative. A course of 12 treatments would normally be required to give lasting pain relief.

“A pilot study using acupuncture in the treatment of 31 patients with frozen shoulder showed marked improvement in 24 and improvement in 6, thus suggesting that acupuncture is an effective option for the treatment of Frozen Shoulder”
– Acupuncture Med 1999.