Unfreezing Your Frozen Shoulder | Therapy Treatment, Causes & Exercise

Unfreezing Your Frozen Shoulder | Therapy Treatment, Causes & Exercise
Posted on 1 October 2023

Part 1: A Holistic Approach to Frozen Shoulder: Healing Beyond the Ice

What is Frozen Shoulder?

Frozen shoulder, medically known as adhesive capsulitis, is a painful and debilitating condition that affects millions of people worldwide. Characterised by stiffness, pain, and limited range of motion in the shoulder joint, it can significantly impact one’s quality of life. While conventional medical treatments like physical therapy, medications, and sometimes surgery can help manage the symptoms, a holistic approach to frozen shoulder can provide a more comprehensive and sustainable solution.

Understanding Frozen Shoulder

Before delving into holistic approaches, it’s essential to understand the nature of frozen shoulder. What are the first symptoms and how does it develop you might ask?This condition typically develops gradually and progresses through stages. 

Initially, there is pain and discomfort in the shoulder, followed by increasing stiffness. In the frozen stage of development , the range of motion in the shoulder joint is severely restricted and then the thawing stage sees symptoms diminishes and eventual return to better mobility and pain reduction.

Frozen shoulder typically progresses through three stages:

1. Freezing Stage: This initial stage involves the gradual onset of shoulder pain and stiffness. Over time, the shoulder joint becomes increasingly difficult to move.

2. Frozen Stage: During this phase, shoulder mobility is severely restricted, making daily activities challenging. Pain may persist, and the condition may last several months.

3. Thawing Stage: In the final stage, shoulder mobility gradually improves, and pain diminishes, eventually returning to near-normal function.

How long does frozen shoulder take to go away? Over time, symptoms get better, usually within 1 to 3 year and by booking in for frozen shoulder therapies you can hope to reduce the recovery time.  Often I am asked to to cure it quickly and how to relieve frozen shoulder pain? The answer is one step at a time and following a holistic approach which is a gentle and supportive method that takes you along each step of the journey as follows;

Holistic Healing Philosophy

A holistic approach to frozen shoulder treatment focuses on the individual as a whole, rather than just the symptoms. It considers physical, emotional, and lifestyle factors that may contribute to the condition. Here are key aspects of this approach:

1. Nutrition: Proper nutrition plays a vital role in healing. A balanced diet rich in anti-inflammatory foods can help reduce inflammation and pain associated with frozen shoulder. Omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, and foods high in vitamins and minerals are beneficial.

2. Exercise and Physical Therapy: Frozen shoulder physical exercises and physical therapy tailored to the individual’s needs can help improve shoulder mobility and reduce pain. Yoga and tai chi can be particularly effective for enhancing flexibility and reducing stress.

3. Stress Management: Chronic stress can exacerbate frozen shoulder symptoms. Holistic therapies such as Craniosacral therapy, Bowen Technique (see below for more information on both this amazing therapies) , Reiki meditation, deep breathing exercises, and mindfulness techniques can reduce stress and promote overall well-being.

4. It is often asked is massage good for frozen shoulder? The answer is yes Massage Therapy: Massage can relax muscle tension, improve blood flow, and reduce pain in the affected area. Techniques like Swedish massage and myofascial release can be beneficial.

5. Physical Therapy (see below for more information) for frozen shoulder patients can help align the spine and shoulder joints, which may relieve pain and improve mobility.

6. Supplements and Herbal Remedies: Certain supplements like glucosamine and chondroitin, along with herbal remedies such as turmeric and ginger, have anti-inflammatory properties and may be incorporated into the treatment plan.

7. Emotional Well-being: Emotional factors can influence physical health. Psychological counselling, support groups, and therapies like EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitisation Repressing), Hypnosis and life coaching can assist individuals in coping with the emotional toll of frozen shoulder.

8. Lifestyle Modification: Identifying and modifying lifestyle factors that contribute to frozen shoulder, such as poor posture or overuse of the affected arm, is crucial for holistic healing.

How to cure frozen shoulder quickly?

A holistic integrative approach to frozen shoulder acknowledges that the body, mind, and emotions are interconnected.  This is one of the fastest way to cure. By addressing the underlying causes and considering the individual’s overall well-being, this approach offers a more comprehensive and sustainable way to manage and even recover from this challenging condition. While it may take time and patience, the holistic path to healing can lead to a better quality of life and improved shoulder health. Always consult with healthcare professionals when pursuing holistic therapies to ensure they align with your specific needs and medical advice.

Part 2: Restoring Freedom of Movement: Physical Therapy’s Approach to Frozen Shoulder

Frozen shoulder and adhesive capsulitis, is a painful and often debilitating condition that affects the shoulder joint, causing stiffness and limiting range of motion. Physical therapy is a well-established and highly effective approach to managing and treating frozen shoulder. In this article, we will explore how physical therapy plays a crucial role in restoring shoulder function and improving the quality of life for individuals suffering from this condition.

Understanding How Frozen Shoulder Progresses

Frozen shoulder typically progresses through stages. It begins with pain and discomfort in the shoulder, followed by increasing stiffness, and ultimately culminating in severe restriction of movement. The condition can occur spontaneously or be associated with factors like injury, surgery, or certain medical conditions.

How Physical Therapy Can Help

1. Pain Management: Physical therapists use various techniques to manage pain associated with frozen shoulder. This may include modalities like heat or cold therapy, as well as manual therapy to reduce muscle tension and alleviate discomfort.

2. Stretching and Range of Motion Exercises: A cornerstone of physical therapy for frozen shoulder is a carefully designed exercise program. Therapists guide patients through specific stretches and range of motion exercises to gradually improve shoulder mobility. These exercises help prevent further joint stiffness and can reduce pain over time.

3. Strengthening Exercises: Weakness in the muscles surrounding the shoulder joint can exacerbate frozen shoulder symptoms. Physical therapists prescribe strengthening exercises to rebuild muscle strength and support the joint.

4. Manual Therapy: Therapists use hands-on techniques such as joint mobilization and soft tissue manipulation to release tension in the shoulder and improve joint mobility.

5. Posture and Body Mechanics: Physical therapists address posture and body mechanics to help individuals avoid habits that may contribute to frozen shoulder. Proper alignment can reduce strain on the shoulder joint.

6. Patient Education: Understanding the condition and its progression is essential for successful treatment. Physical therapists educate patients, including what to expect and how to manage symptoms effectively.

7. Home Exercise Programs: To complement in-office sessions, physical therapists often provide patients with customised home exercise programs. Consistent practice of these exercises is crucial for long-term improvement.

8. Functional Rehabilitation: Physical therapy aims to restore not only shoulder mobility but also functionality in daily life. Therapists work with patients to regain the ability to perform essential tasks and activities without pain or limitation.

Physio treatment for frozen shoulder and adhesive capsulitis is a fundamental and evidence-based approach.  By combining pain management, targeted exercises, manual therapy, and education, physical therapists can help individuals regain mobility, reduce pain, and improve their overall quality of life. It’s essential to seek professional guidance from a licensed physical therapist to create a tailored treatment plan that addresses your specific condition and needs.

While the road to recovery from frozen shoulder may be challenging and require patience, physical therapy remains a powerful tool for restoring freedom of movement and allowing individuals to return to their normal daily activities with improved shoulder function. Consulting with healthcare professionals and adhering to the prescribed physical therapy program can lead to significant relief and recovery.

Part 3. Unlocking Mobility: The Bowen Technique Approach to Frozen Shoulder

Frozen shoulder and adhesive capsulitis, as a condition that can severely restrict shoulder mobility, causing pain and discomfort it is good to have many ways to help you return to normal painfree every day function. While traditional treatments like physical therapy and medication are commonly employed, a lesser-known but highly effective approach is the Bowen Therapy. In this article, we explore how the Bowen Technique offers a gentle and holistic approach to alleviating frozen shoulder symptoms.

Understanding the Bowen Technique

The Bowen Technique, developed by Australian therapist Tom Bowen, is a form of bodywork that aims to stimulate the body’s own healing mechanisms. It is characterised by its gentle, non-invasive nature and its focus on the fascia, a connective tissue that surrounds muscles and organs. This technique involves specific, light-touch moves at precise points on the body, typically performed over clothing.

How the Bowen Therapy Helps Frozen Shoulder

1. Relaxing Muscle Tension: One of the primary goals of the Bowen Therapy is to relax muscle tension. Frozen shoulder often results from muscle spasms and tension in the shoulder area. Bowen moves release this tension, providing relief from pain and stiffness.

2. Restoring Fascial Mobility: The gentle moves used in the Bowen Technique target the fascia, aiming to restore its natural mobility. When the fascia becomes restricted, as in frozen shoulder, it can contribute to pain and restricted movement. Bowen helps to release these restrictions, promoting improved shoulder function.

3. Balancing the Autonomic Nervous System: The Bowen Therapy Technique has a unique ability to balance the autonomic nervous system. This can be especially helpful for individuals with frozen shoulder, as stress and tension often exacerbate symptoms. By inducing relaxation and reducing the “fight or flight” response, Bowen promotes a sense of calm and well-being.

4. Enhancing Lymphatic Flow: Improved lymphatic flow is crucial for reducing inflammation, a common issue in frozen shoulder. Bowen moves stimulate lymphatic drainage, aiding in the removal of toxins and reducing inflammation in the affected area.

5. Promoting Mind-Body Connection: Bowen sessions encourage individuals to become more aware of their bodies and how they respond to stress and discomfort. This mind-body connection can empower individuals to manage their condition more effectively and make necessary lifestyle adjustments.

6. Individualised Approach: Bowen practitioners tailor their sessions to the unique needs of each individual. This personalised approach ensures that the treatment addresses the specific issues contributing to the frozen shoulder.

The Bowen Technique offers a gentle, non-invasive, and holistic approach to addressing frozen shoulder symptoms. By targeting muscle tension, fascial restrictions, and the autonomic nervous system, this technique can provide relief from pain and promote improved shoulder mobility. It is essential to consult with a qualified Bowen practitioner to determine if this approach is suitable for your specific condition.

While the Bowen Technique has shown promising results for many individuals with frozen shoulder, it is not a replacement for conventional medical care. It can be a valuable complementary therapy that supports the overall management and healing process of frozen shoulder. As a registered physio with me as your healthcare professional I aim to deliver  a comprehensive treatment plan tailored to your unique needs.

Part 4. Craniosacral Therapy: A Gentle Approach to Easing Frozen Shoulder

Frozen shoulder, medically known as adhesive capsulitis, is a painful and restrictive condition that affects the shoulder joint, making everyday tasks challenging. While conventional treatments like physical therapy and medications are commonly employed, a less-known but promising approach is Craniosacral therapy. In this article, we explore how Craniosacral therapy can offer relief and improved mobility for individuals with frozen shoulder.

Understanding Craniosacral Therapy

Craniosacral therapy is a gentle, hands-on approach to healing that focuses on the Craniosacral system, which includes the brain, spinal cord, and cerebrospinal fluid. This therapy, developed by osteopath Dr. John Upledger, aims to detect and correct imbalances in this system, promoting overall health and well-being.

How Craniosacral Therapy Can Benefit Frozen Shoulder

1. Balancing the Nervous System: Craniosacral therapy can help balance the autonomic nervous system, reducing stress and tension. Stress can exacerbate frozen shoulder symptoms, so promoting relaxation is crucial for relief.

2. Enhancing Circulation: Improved blood flow and lymphatic drainage are essential for healing. Craniosacral therapy techniques can encourage better circulation to the affected shoulder area, aiding in the reduction of inflammation and promoting the body’s natural healing processes.

3. Releasing Tension: Craniosacral therapists use gentle touch to release tension and restrictions in the fascia and muscles. For frozen shoulder patients, this can relieve the tightness and discomfort associated with the condition.

4. Promoting Self-Healing: Craniosacral therapy works with the body’s innate ability to heal itself. By facilitating the release of restrictions and blockages, it encourages the body to correct imbalances and alleviate pain.

5. Improving Body Awareness: Craniosacral therapy sessions often involve mindfulness and body awareness techniques. This can help individuals with frozen shoulder become more attuned to their bodies and make positive lifestyle adjustments to prevent further discomfort.

6. Customised Treatment: Each Craniosacral therapy session is tailored to the individual’s unique needs. Therapists assess the entire body, not just the affected shoulder, to address any contributing factors to the condition.

Craniosacral therapy is a gentle and holistic approach to addressing frozen shoulder that focuses on the interconnectedness of the body. By balancing the nervous system, enhancing circulation, releasing tension, and promoting self-healing, this therapy can offer relief from pain and stiffness associated with frozen shoulder.

It’s important to note that Craniosacral therapy should be used in conjunction with, rather than as a replacement for, conventional medical care.  As a physical therapist i create comprehensive treatment plan tailored to your specific needs.

Individual experiences with Craniosacral therapy may vary, so it’s essential to find a qualified and experienced Craniosacral therapist who can assess your condition and provide personalised guidance. While not a guaranteed cure, many individuals have found relief and improved shoulder mobility through this gentle and holistic approach to healing.

Part 5.  Reiki for Frozen Shoulder: A Holistic Approach to Healing

Frozen shoulder and adhesive capsulitis in  increasing number of sufferers are exploring alternative and complementary therapies like Reiki to alleviate their symptoms and promote healing. Reiki, a Japanese energy healing technique, offers a holistic approach that may provide relief and aid in the recovery process for individuals suffering from frozen shoulder.

Reiki: A Holistic Healing Modality

Reiki, which means “universal life energy” in Japanese, is a form of energy healing that aims to balance the body’s life force energy, known as “ki” or “chi.” It is based on the belief that disruptions in this energy can lead to physical, emotional, and mental imbalances. Reiki practitioners use their hands to channel this healing energy into the recipient, promoting relaxation and facilitating the body’s natural healing abilities.

Benefits of Reiki for Frozen Shoulder

1. Pain Reduction: One of the primary complaints of individuals with frozen shoulder is pain. Reiki has been reported to alleviate pain by promoting relaxation and reducing muscle tension. This can help individuals manage their discomfort without relying solely on pain medication.

2. Stress Reduction: Stress can exacerbate the symptoms of frozen shoulder and impede the healing process. Reiki’s calming and soothing effects can reduce stress levels, improving overall well-being and aiding in the recovery process.

3. Enhanced Energy Flow: Reiki aims to unblock and balance the flow of energy within the body. By doing so, it may help alleviate the energy blockages associated with frozen shoulder, potentially accelerating the healing process.

4. Emotional Support: Living with a chronic condition like frozen shoulder can be emotionally challenging. Reiki sessions often provide emotional support and a sense of relaxation, which can improve an individual’s outlook on their condition and enhance their overall quality of life.

5. Complementary to Conventional Treatment: Reiki is non-invasive and can be used alongside conventional medical treatments. It is not a replacement for medical care but can complement it by addressing the holistic well-being of the individual.

Reiki offers a holistic and complementary approach to managing frozen shoulder. While it may not provide a quick fix or a guaranteed cure, it has the potential to reduce pain, relieve stress, and support the overall healing process. As with any alternative therapy, it is essential to consult with a qualified healthcare professional before beginning Reiki or any other complementary treatment for frozen shoulder. Moreover, individuals should approach Reiki with an open mind, as its effectiveness can vary from person to person. In the quest for relief and recovery from frozen shoulder, Reiki represents a gentle and holistic option worth considering for those seeking a well-rounded approach to their health and well-being.

Part 6. Unraveling the Mind-Body Connection: Psychology’s Approach to Frozen Shoulder

Frozen shoulder and adhesive capsulitis, is a condition that not only affects the physical aspects of the shoulder joint but also has psychological dimensions. While traditional treatments like physical therapy and medications are essential, psychology can offer valuable insights into managing and coping with the emotional and mental aspects of this condition. In this article, we delve into psychology’s approach to frozen shoulder, exploring the mind-body connection and strategies for holistic healing.

Understanding the Psychological Impact

Living with frozen shoulder can take a toll on one’s emotional well-being. The chronic pain, restricted mobility, and dependence on others for daily tasks can lead to feelings of frustration, helplessness, and even depression. It’s crucial to recognise and address these psychological aspects to achieve comprehensive healing.

Psychological Approaches to Frozen Shoulder

1. Pain Management Strategies: Psychological techniques can help individuals better cope with pain.  EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitisation Reprcessing), Hypnosis, Life Coaching and Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), can help patients how to change negative thought patterns and develop healthier pain management strategies.

2. Stress Reduction: Stress can exacerbate frozen shoulder symptoms. Mindfulness meditation, relaxation exercises, and deep breathing techniques can help individuals reduce stress, promoting relaxation and pain relief.

3. Emotional Support: Support from psychologists or support groups can provide a safe space for individuals to express their emotions and concerns related to frozen shoulder. Sharing experiences with others who are going through similar challenges can be empowering and reduce feelings of isolation.

4. Setting Realistic Goals: Psychology can assist individuals in setting realistic goals for their recovery journey. By breaking down the process into manageable steps and celebrating small achievements, patients can maintain a positive outlook.

5. Enhancing Motivation: Maintaining motivation during the often lengthy healing process is essential. Psychologists can work with individuals to boost motivation by highlighting the potential benefits of improved shoulder mobility and function.

6. Managing Lifestyle Changes: Frozen shoulder may require adjustments to one’s daily routine and lifestyle. Psychologists can help individuals adapt to these changes, providing strategies to maintain independence and well-being.

7. Preventing Recurrence: Understanding the psychological factors that may have contributed to frozen shoulder, such as stress or overuse, can help individuals make lifestyle changes to prevent recurrence.

The Mind-Body Connection

The mind-body connection plays a significant role in the management of frozen shoulder. Emotional and psychological factors can influence pain perception, muscle tension, and overall physical well-being. Recognising and addressing these factors can lead to a more holistic approach to healing.

Frozen shoulder is not merely a physical condition; it has a profound psychological impact on those who experience it. Integrating psychology into the treatment plan can help individuals cope with the emotional challenges, manage pain, and maintain a positive outlook on their recovery journey.

Collaboration between healthcare professionals, including physical therapists, physicians, and psychologists, is essential for a comprehensive approach to frozen shoulder. By addressing both the physical and psychological aspects of this condition, individuals can work toward improved mobility, reduced pain, and enhanced overall well-being. Consulting with healthcare professionals like me at Kincora Therapy can provide valuable support and guidance throughout the frozen shoulder healing process.  Book online here to take your next step on your healing journey. 

Can frozen shoulder go away on its own? Most frozen shoulders get better on its own yet this may take longer than having treatment with a holistic integrative physio for frozen shoulder and there is a percentage of people who never regain full pain free movement on their own.  Most health insurances reimburse part of your treatment costs so why not give yourself some TLC (tender loving care) and the best chance of full recover as quickly as possible.   

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