Adhesive capsulitis, or a frozen shoulder, is an extremely painful condition caused by the tendons surrounding the shoulder becoming inflamed and tightened around the glenohumeral joint. The shoulder is one of the most complex joints in the human body, which contains more than 18 muscles that control and move the joint. It encompasses one of the vulnerable joints in your body and can easily be damaged through overuse or acute traumatic injury.
Causes and Symptoms
A frozen shoulder usually starts with a reduced range of motion during shoulder movement, which then progresses to pain and stiffness that worsens as the day goes on. It is typically painless to touch in the early stages, and the only real symptom you might experience is a limited range of motion. However, as time goes by, more symptoms may arise, such as:
- Pain that worsens at night or keeps you awake
- Pain when reaching overhead or behind your back
- A crunching or grinding sound during movement (syndrome of adhesive capsulitis)
- Weakness or tiredness in the shoulder and upper arm
- A lump on the front of your shoulder (subacromial bursitis)
- A dull ache, pins, and needles, and an aching pain during movement (rheumatoid factor positive polyarthritis).
You may experience only one of these symptoms or a combination. However, it is important to note that many other conditions can cause similar symptoms and localized shoulder pain and stiffness, such as osteoarthritis, bursitis, and rotator cuff tendinopathy). Therefore, you should speak to your doctor within your local frozen shoulder clinic if you think you have a frozen shoulder or it doesn’t go away within a few months.
How is it Treated with Holistic Methods?
Ice therapy is another popular treatment for this condition, which has been known to reduce inflammation and swelling in the area affected by adhesive capsulitis. A cold pack is placed over the shoulder for 15 to 20 minutes, several times each day. Doctors can do that in addition to other treatments to decrease inflammation and increase mobility in the joint.
Heat therapy can also be useful to relax muscles and increase blood flow to the affected area.
Acupuncture is a treatment method in which thin needles are inserted into the body at specific points to influence and relieve pain. Acupuncture works by stimulating nerve endings under the skin, sending sensational signals to various parts of the brain. In particular, acupuncture is clinically effective in improving pain, stiffness, and function in shoulder or neck pain patients. This positive patient response happens since the nervous system is triggered, promoting blood flow throughout the body. It may also be helpful to relax the nerves in this region, which is believed to help release endorphins.
Although acupuncture does not specifically cure frozen shoulder, it can relieve pain and increase the range of motion for patients during their recovery period. Patients considering other treatments should consult with their doctors before starting any exercise or treatment plan, including acupuncture.
Massage therapy is another popular treatment for adhesive capsulitis because it encourages blood flow and relaxation in the muscles around the shoulder joint. In addition, a skilled massage therapist can help to stretch the muscles that are contracted around the shoulder.
The use of herbal remedies such as turmeric has also proven to be valuable in treating this condition. That is because it inhibits certain cells from producing enzymes that cause pain and inflammation. It also serves as an antioxidant, protecting against free radicals that damage healthy cells in your body. People who suffer from this condition should consider speaking with their physician about using turmeric supplements before using their homegrown remedies.