Frozen shoulder, also known as adhesive capsulitis, is a medical condition where there is pain and stiffness in the shoulder. The pain can be aching or dull. Frozen shoulder is due to the capsule of connective tissue which covers the shoulder joint begins to thicken and tighten.
A frozen shoulder can result from overuse, an injury, or from a procedure like a mastectomy or another medical condition such as a stroke or diabetes. Usually, frozen shoulder occurs in people who are of the ages between 40 and 70, and in women (mainly postmenopausal) more than in men.
The Stages of a Frozen Shoulder
There are three stages of a frozen shoulder. The freezing stage is where any shoulder movement causes pain, diminishing the range of motion. The frozen stage has less pain, but the range of motion of the shoulder diminishes even further. The thawing stage is where the shoulder’s range of motion begins to return.
Frozen Shoulder Treatment Options
Depending on what your doctor recommends upon examination, you may be offered a number of medical treatments including steroid injections, physical therapy, and surgery. But there are some natural remedies that can help both relieve pain and restore the range of motion for your frozen shoulder.
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen and aspirin. These can help to reduce both pain and inflammation.
- Applying cold or heat to the shoulder This method can also help reduce pain and discomfort.
- Acupuncture for frozen shoulder —this involves the insertion of very thin needles in the skin on specific trigger points all over the body. This could be placed at the point of pain as well as needles placed away from the point of pain.
- Stretches and exercises that help to improve mobility—you should do these after you’ve warmed up your shoulder with a warm bath or shower for at least 10 minutes, or with a moistened heating pad or a warm damp towel. One key stretch is the doorway stretch, where you stand in the doorway, putting both hands at shoulder height on either side of the doorway. Then, leaning forward in the doorway, you can get a gentle stretch of your shoulder muscles.
- Posture adjustment By keeping your better posture, you can help ease your frozen shoulder. Hook your thumbs into your pants or belt so your arms don’t touch your sides. When sitting down at your desk, move your arms more frequently. Reaching your arm up and behind your head will keep the muscles stretched.
- A change in diet A diet of fresh fruit and veggies along with anti-inflammatory supplements such as CoQ10, magnesium, turmeric, and omega-3 fatty acids can help with controlling inflammation on a long-term basis as well as help in preventing the frozen shoulder from reoccurring. Other foods which are rich in probiotics such as kimchi, kombucha, yogurt, kefir, and other cultured vegetables also help to fight inflammation.