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Acupuncture for Frozen Shoulders

Being unable to move your arm and/or shoulder can greatly affect your quality of life. Many patients now opt for acupuncture treatments for their frozen shoulder as acupuncture both improves the range of motion of the shoulder and reduces pain.

Frozen shoulder, or adhesive capsulitis, is a medical condition where the joint of the shoulder is affected. People with frozen shoulder tend to experience stiffness and pain which starts gradually but worsens over time. In some chronic cases, patients may suffer from frozen shoulder for as long as three years if they do not use acupuncture to speed up the recover.

A person’s ball and socket joint in their shoulder has three bones which include the collarbone, or the clavicle; the shoulder blade, or the scapula; and the upper arm, or the humerus. The shoulder joint is surrounded by connective tissue, also known as the shoulder capsule. When the capsule thickens, it gets tight and restricts shoulder movement. Eventually, scar tissue begins to form, and synovial fluid is reduced. Synovial fluid lubricates the joints to enable movement. With less fluid, the shoulder joint becomes stiffer and is more painful to move. Apart from regular treatments, patients opt for acupuncture for frozen shoulder as acupuncture not only can relive the shoulder pain but also can reduce the scar tissue and restore the normal motion range.

Causes of Frozen Shoulder

Those who have imbalanced immune system, diabetes, or a hormonal imbalance have a higher chance of developing inflammation in their shoulder joints. Further, long-term inactivity due to surgery, illness, or injury, can also lead to stiff tissue, and inflammation. Over time, scar tissue forms, and this affects your flexibility and range of motion. Frozen shoulder normally affects those who are between the ages of forty and sixty and is more common amongst women because of the menopause. Those who have had a mastectomy or a stroke are more likely to develop this condition due to inactivity and weak muscles and ligament. Some patients with Parkinson’s disease, thyroid disease, and heart disease also have an increased risk. Acupuncture for a frozen shoulder is an excellent solution to explore when patient is in severe pain and cannot move their arm in certain way. PT for frozen shoulder can help patients to build stronger muscles after acupuncture for a frozen shoulder help patients reduce all the inflammation and repair the tissue damage. When patients are in pain due to frozen shoulder, doing more exercise can potentially cause muscle or ligament tears.

How Acupuncture can Treat Frozen Shoulder

Different practitioners follow different strategies when it comes to the selection of needle insertion points. When dealing with local points, those on the small intestine meridian are typically chosen, such as Bingfeng, which is found at the indentation when the arm is raised. Normally, four to eight points are picked for each treatment, and electro-acupuncture may be used to relax the muscles and reduce the swelling in the joint. Additionally, the arm is gently manipulated in order to balance the tendons around the shoulder.

In some cases, distal acupuncture points are chosen for treatment. For example, Zhang, Maohai focused primarily on yanglingquan (GB34O, which is found on the lower leg. He felt that needling the affected shoulder side at this one acupuncture point was more effective than targeting multiple points. On August 2016 a study published in the US National Library of Medicine shows that out of forty patients between the ages of 44 and 71 years suffering from frozen shoulder, most experienced improved shoulder motion range after three months of acupuncture treatment. The study indicated that using acupuncture for frozen shoulder not only reduce the pain, but help reduce the inflammation much faster  so that when you get older, you have more reserve in your shoulder function. The arthritis can develop if the frozen shoulder lasted for too long without acupuncture treatment.

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