Frozen Shoulder

The term “frozen shoulder” is used to describe a variety of conditions that cause pain and limited range of motion of the shoulder joint. Most commonly caused by inflammation of synovial tissue or thickening of synovial fluid, frozen shoulder occurs mainly in middle-aged people who have a history of shoulder injuries

To treat frozen shoulder oriental medicine utilizes herbal therapy and acupuncture to promote blood circulation and reduce inflammation. Trigger points can be released by inserting acupuncture needles directly into the muscle which is extremely effective at eliminating shoulder pain. Another acupuncture technique for addressing pain from trigger points includes needling away from the actual pain site, choosing points along the acupuncture meridians. In herbal therapy most of the herbs are used to remove stagnation and enhance the function of joints and cartilages.

The initial stages of care are aimed at reducing inflammation and increasing range of motion. Toward that end, various treatment methods have been devised, including anti-inflammatory drugs, ultrasound, heat, massage, and stretching and isometric exercises. Steroid injections and nerve blocks have also been employed at times, but the effectiveness of these therapies can vary greatly from patient to patient.
Several studies have reported that acupuncture can successfully treat frozen shoulder. One of the studies, published in the Hong Kong Medical Journal, found that patients treated with acupuncture and exercise demonstrated “significantly greater improvement” on shoulder assessment tests than those using just exercise, and suggests that acupuncture could be useful in cases where more conventional therapies have been unsuccessful.