Frozen Shoulder

Chances are you know someone who has frozen shoulder symptoms. Frozen Shoulder, also known as adhesive capsulitis, “… is a condition characterized as stiffness and pain in the shoulder joint. This term tends to be used when the cause of the pain and decreased range of motion is unknown. Signs and symptoms typically start gradually and worsen over time…”. Frozen Shoulder is a disorder of the connective tissue in the rotator cuff region where there is motor impairment, pain, and inflammation.

There are typically three stages in which Frozen Shoulder develops;

1. Increased pain with movement and limited range of motion.

2. Decreased range of motion to the point where it might be difficult to do daily tasks. Sometimes there can be a decrease of pain during this stage as well.

3. Increased range of motion.

Although Doctors aren’t totally sure what causes Frozen Shoulder, there are a few reasons that can increase someones chance at experience Frozen Shoulder symptoms.

  • Most commonly, it can be from simply not using it. An example of this would be after having a medical procedure and being instructed to decrease use of a specific arm.
  • It can gradually develop from over use or a series of small injuries not properly cared for over time.
  • They have also discovered that people with systemic diseases – such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, hyper/hypothyroidism – have a higher chance of developing Frozen Shoulder.
  • People over the age of 40.

“The researchers concluded that acupuncture relieves Frozen Shoulder pain and improves shoulder functional ability.” Acupuncture can help with a large number of shoulder issues, including Frozen Shoulder. Acupuncture works well for Frozen Shoulder by needling a combination of motor points to help release the tight muscles, as well as specific acupuncture points that increase the flow of Qi in the affected area. You may notice that your acupuncturist is needling various spots other than your affected shoulder. Your Acupuncturist will do this because of the flow of the meridians, there are a few meridians that intersect with the shoulder. They include; Large Intestine, Small Intestine, and San Jiao. So depending on your other symptoms (if any) and the location of the pain, your Acupuncturist will make an educated decision to needle associated meridians. There is actually a point on your leg that helps with shoulder pain, so don’t be too surprised if you get a few needles placed in the lower half of your body when you come in for shoulder pain! Stretching will also be a very important key in your recovery. Similar to the motor point portion of your acupuncture treatment, the goal of stretching is to help lengthen the muscle and bring it back to its natural state.

So if you have been- or know someone who has been – experiencing shoulder issues, acupuncture might be the next step you need in your healing process.

For more information on how acupuncture can help your shoulder pain, you can email me at


Acu Sport Shoulder – Matt Callison

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