If you are looking for frozen shoulder pain relief, this article presents some tips from a physical therapist and also looks at massage for relieving the condition.
Frozen shoulder syndrome (also called adhesive capsulitis) is a painful condition that prevents you from moving your shoulder and arm through their full range of motion.
This condition occurs in the glenohumeral joint, sometimes generically called the shoulder joint, where the upper arm bone (humerus) meets the shoulder blade (scapula). Surrounding the joint is a capsule that contains fluid to lubricate the joint, ligaments to hold the joint together, and other soft tissue, including the rotator cuff tendons.
If you develop inflammation, scarring, thickening, and shrinkage of
the capsule, your shoulder can become unable to move properly.
Part of the joint capsule sticks to itself, creating pain when you
attempt to move your arm.
The cause of the condition is often unknown. Factors that increase the risk include having other shoulder injuries, being immobile for prolonged lengths of time, systemic disease (such as diabetes, heart disease, Parkinson's, or a thyroid problem), and being a woman over 40.
A distinguishing feature of frozen shoulder symptoms is the capsular pattern, that is, the order in which you are unable to move:
Other shoulder problems have different capsular patterns. Sometimes, other shoulder problems are mistakenly labeled frozen shoulder, so an accurate diagnosis from a healthcare professional (preferably, a shoulder expert) is important.
Brian Schiff, a licensed physical therapist and author of The Ultimate Frozen Shoulder Therapy Guide provides the following self care tips for frozen shoulder pain relief. As always, see a healthcare practitioner for advice specific to your situation.
Ask massage therapists about their experience dealing with frozen shoulder, as not everyone understands the condition.
Massage for this shoulder problem may start with relaxation techniques on the muscles around the shoulder. The massage therapist may then use active engagement techniques, where you contract a muscle and the therapist does a massage technique as you release the contraction.
The massage therapist may also release myofascial trigger points (irritable points that cause pain in a location other than at the point itself). Another option is slow, gentle stretching of the shoulder muscles.
You might also incorporate some essential oils for pain relief into the massage. If you do self massage, be gentle.
Dealing with this shoulder problem is often a long process—the problem can last a year or more, even with treatment. Patience and a gentle approach is likely to yield the best results.
Here are some frozen shoulder exercises and stretches from a physical therapist.
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