Frozen Shoulder at Different Stages

Frozen shoulder is characterized by pain and loss of motion or stiffness in the shoulder. It most commonly affects patients between the ages of 40 and 60 years. The process of this disease is usually from 8 month to 2 years. Appropriate and timely treatment is crucial for the full recovery of the disease.

Acute inflammation stage: swollen and pain at outer shoulder area. Local skin is red and warm to touch. There is severe inflammation at this time. The treatment principle of Chinese Medicine is to reduce inflammation and stop pain. We needle the local and distal points; do very gentle Tui na (massage) around the painful area to relieve pain. But it is not wise to do strong massage at the local area which will make the swollen worse. Chinese herbs can also help to reduce swollen and relieve pain.

Freezing stage: there is no swollen and burning sensation on the shoulder any more but severe pain could radiate to the neck and arm which is worse at night. Stiff shoulder will occur unless proper treatment is applied. There is chronic inflammation and mild adhesion of the tissues now. The treatment principle is to warm the meridians, improve circulation and relieve pain. Apart from Acupuncture, Electro acupuncture, we do cupping at the local area. Tui Na (massage) techniques will be used to separate the adhesion and prevent the problem from getting worse.

Adhesion stage: Restricted motion or stiffness in the shoulder is the most important symptom now. It is very hard for patients to lift the arm. Sometimes they are even not able to open the door or brush their hair. Special warming needling techniques are important to break up the adhesions and restore the range of motion. Electro Acupuncture and cupping are the auxiliary techniques to relieve pain and improve the curative effects.