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This greatly affects a patient’s quality of life, because the condition makes the arm useless for a lot of daily activities we take for granted. The shoulder is the most mobile joint in the body.

I have seen a few cases of adhesive capsulitis of the shoulder in my time. It is also known as frozen shoulder and is a painful and disabling disorder of unclear cause.

The tissue affected is the connective tissue surrounding the glenohumeral joint of the shoulder, which becomes inflamed and stiff, greatly restricting motion and causing chronic pain.

Having pain in the shoulder every now and then might not be reason of concern as long as you don’t lose its motion. If there is inflammation then it is better to have your shoulder rest until inflammation is gone.

Different scenario if you start losing motion of the shoulder progressively which usually goes along with an increase of pain. That’s a reason of concern. Concern because it mean the glenohumeral joint is getting “tight”, losing its elasticity, getting dry or much worse; calcifying. 

The key here is to re-establish its elasticity through acupuncture, IR therapy and massage all combined. They all help to reduce pain and increase the range of motion even after one single session. 

Then it is important to perform some exercises at home called “crawl wall” exercises: 5 minutes each session, 3 times a day. 

Unfortunately, in the eagerness to get better, patients usually do too much exercise all at once, so they come back to the next session with more pain. A lesson from that is, you have to take it easy, and not to do anything you would not normally do.

Oftentimes, my patients feel better after treatment and forget about their pain, so they do more activity than usual, making the injury much worse.

After the first session of acupuncture for frozen shoulder, pain usually is reduced by 80 percent with a ROM improvement to 30 degrees in flexion, abduction, and 20 degrees in extension. The following sessions consist on keeping the motion gain plus increasing the degrees progressively until you can wash and comb her hair or scratch your lower back.

Photo by Inge Poleman

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