Frozen shoulder, also known as adhesive capsulitis is the limited movement of the shoulder which is the result of pain and stiffness.
It most often occurs after overuse, such as in sports or in one’s vocation. It can also result from an injury, or diseases such as stroke and diabetes. As scar tissue forms around the joints of the shoulder it causes limited mobility and pain.
Sadly, due to this limitation, the shoulder can become worse over time. Only as the scar tissue heals or the shoulder is allowed rest and repair does the pain and immobility usually subside.
Frozen shoulder is often the result of chronic disease and most often occurs in individuals between the ages of 40 and 70. The problem is usually diagnosed with X-rays, but you may be able to detect that the condition is starting. It is not uncommon for frozen shoulder to last up to a year or more.
There are usually three phases associated with frozen shoulder:
- The freezing stage – This is characterized by pain and the beginning of loss of movement. You may notice that you are unable to reach above shoulder height, you are unable to throw a ball, or reach for something, such as your seatbelt at your side or behind you. This is also known as the RED phase due to the capsule color of your shoulder if you undergo arthroscopic surgery.
- The frozen stage – The shoulder capsule appears pink at this juncture of your frozen shoulder’s progression. You may not notice any progression of symptoms, but that you just live with limited mobility and pain.
- The thawing stage – The shoulder capsule starts to turn white at this stage. You may begin to have less pain, and that you can move a bit better. There may be weakness in the muscles of the shoulder and surrounding area due to disuse.
Frozen Shoulder can also be caused by rheumatism at an early stage.
How to diagnose Frozen Shoulder?
This disease is often misdiagnosed as a rotator cuff injury, but the shoulder capsule itself begins to shrink due to mal-use and scar tissue. It is also more common in those with a sedentary lifestyle, as blood circulation is inhibited in the area.
If you feel stiffness and pain in your shoulder, see your doctor. A physical exam will help to assess your range of motion. Your doctor will observe as you perform specific movements and measure range of motion of the shoulder, such as touching your opposite shoulder with your hand and other activities.
Allopathic Cures for Frozen Shoulder
The most commonly used remedy for frozen shoulder in allopathic medicine is non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS). This is usually followed by icing of the area to reduce swelling and then physical therapy. Corticosteroid injections are also used to reduce pain and swelling.
NSAIDS may temporarily reduce the pain and stiffness associated with this condition, but they are rarely a long-term solution and can cause some severe side effects including:
- Skin rashes
- Reduced Appetite
Topically applied corticosteroids also come with their own side effects including:
- Impaired vision
- Bloody stool
- Rapid weight gain
- Strange behavior
- Severe pain that spreads from your stomach area to your back (pancreatitis)
In severe cases, arthroscopic surgery is recommended. Although this remedy has been successful for some patients, particularly diabetics, it isn’t for everyone. The surgery requires an anesthetic, which can cause its own complications. It is also invasive, and costly – ranging from $5 – $10,000 dollars. Moreover, it doesn’t completely cure the problem. Frozen shoulder is not the disease, it is a sign of an underlying problem. So getting a surgery done for this is not recommended.
Alternative Cures for Frozen Shoulder
There are several remedies for frozen shoulder that do not involve the use of NSAIDS or corticosteroids, nor invasive surgery. The following alternative methods are best used when the first signs of frozen shoulder appear, such as slight pain or restricted movement.
Some of the more advanced natural cures, such as herbal remedies and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) aim to cure the loss of blood flow, chronic inflammation which causes joint stiffness and pain, and to improve the pH levels of the body – thus eliminating frozen shoulder along with a host of other commonly occurring diseases.
Simple Methods to Alleviate Pain and Immobility
- After activities like sports or a full day lifting heavy objects as is required in some jobs, a simple Epson salts bath can help to soothe muscle swelling and ease joint pain.
- Yogic postures and gentle stretching can help to elongate the muscle fibers and loosen fascia which can improve mobility and blood flow.
- Applying moist heat to the area, followed by cold, can also help to improve blood flow and reduce pain while also reducing swelling. You should keep in mind that swelling is the body’s natural defense against pain and muscle tears. It sends more blood to the area to cure the problem, but swelling for a prolonged period can cause more pain.
- Physical therapy usually utilizes a range of slow, repetitive motions to induce higher mobility in the shoulder. Stretches using a doorway, for example, where you hold onto the door jam and stretch your shoulder can also be practiced at home.
- Essential oils like peppermint or eucalyptus can help to increase blood flow, while also reducing pain in the area. When mixed with herbs like turmeric in a paste, that is the applied topically, you’ve got a powerful anti-inflammatory along with effective pain reducing action.
- Don’t overdo it. Often, after a break in physical activity, we can become over-zealous in our desire to get fit. This can cause us to over-exert ourselves, either pushing too hard, or lifting too much weight in the gym. This can cause improper form, and over-extension of the shoulder muscles.
- Changing your diet to include more anti-inflammatory foods, as well as healing your gut (the primary source of all-body inflammation) can also reduce the incidence of frozen shoulder. Try adding a turmeric supplement, add Omega-3s from plant sources such as hemp or flax seed, as well as magnesium and CoQ10.
- Sleep with a pillow. To avoid irritating an already painful shoulder, try sleeping with a pillow under the elbow, to elevate your arm. This simple action abducts the arm away from the body, stretching the sensitive subscapularis muscle.
Chinese Traditional Medicine for Frozen Shoulder
According to TCM, there are trigger points which cause frozen shoulder. These can be eliminated using acupressure, acupuncture, and herbal supplements.
The trigger points are in the subscapularis muscle. This is one of the four muscles that allow the rotator cuff set of muscles to move the shoulder in a full circle, up and down, and back and forth.
Trigger points are sensitive nodules in the muscles that cause pain elsewhere in the body aside from just the shoulder. In the subscapularis muscle, they produce a signature pain-referral pattern.
Pain concentrates on the back of the deltoid muscle. From there, it can extend onto the back, over the scapula, and/or down the back side of the upper arm.
This is why reaching backward – as in the actions of throwing a ball or trying to hook your bra can be extremely painful for those who suffer from frozen shoulder.
Acupuncture, moxibustion, and generating blood flow with rechanneled qi or life force can also prevent pain and immobility associated with frozen shoulder.
Anti-Inflammatory Herbs to the Rescue
Another powerful method of reducing frozen shoulder pain is to add anti-inflammatory herbs and spices to your diet. These can be eaten in everyday meals or added as supplements.
Just a few which can reduce inflammation (swelling and joint pain) include:
- Black Pepper
- Resveratrol (grapes, wine, dark-colored berries)
- Cayenne pepper
These herbs have been used for centuries by both Ayurvedic and Chinese practitioners to turn off genes that trigger inflammatory proteins called cytokenes. They also change the gut biome – the bacteria that live in our intestines which can either prevent or cause disease. They also contain high levels of anti-oxidants which act as powerful blood cleaners. Some of these herbs, such as turmeric, are also anti-fungal, anti-viral, anti-bacterial, and anti-cancer.
Stress Reduction is Key
Many people are unaware that injuries and joint pain are worsened by stressed. This includes frozen shoulder. Stress causes an increase in inflammation, and may make it harder for your body to recover from illness and injury. It creates loads of the stress-hormone cortisol, which is inflammations’ best friend.
Stress also causes chronic inflammation – a confused immune response of the body which results from a hectic lifestyle, and environmental and physical toxins.
Moreover, chronic inflammation results in many illnesses which are often treated with drugs like NSAIDS or corticosteroids which do not address the underlying problem – an overwhelmed immune system.
You can help your body to recover its normal immune response by eating better foods, getting moderate exercise, eliminating soy, dairy, gluten, and other sensitivities, and reducing stress.
Try meditation, walking in a quiet place, or even just deep breathing. You can practice inhaling to the count of four and exhaling to the count of eight, and then extending that ratio over time.
Relaxation and rest are some of the best cures from frozen shoulder, and often this illness is a sign that your body is overtaxed.
Herbal Medicines for Frozen Shoulder
Herbal medicines have provided great results in eliminating Frozen shoulder successfully. Grocare provides herbal medicines – ORONERV & ACIDIM which work without any side effects.
Oronerv allows smooth flow of nerve signals by removing any blockages.
Oronerv acts as a Neuro – Vascular tonic, thereby giving strength to vascular and nervous system.
ACIDIM maintains the optimum pH- acidic environment required in the body, therefore removes existing blockages and prevents further damage. This addresses root cause of the problem thereby reducing chances of recurrence.
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