Do you suffer from Frozen Shoulder?
A sharp pain in your shoulders and inability to lift your arm over your head or reach to your side signal ‘Frozen Shoulder’.
What is a Frozen Shoulder?
Frozen shoulder (medically termed as adhesive capsulitis of the shoulder) is a condition where a shoulder becomes painful and stiff. Shoulder movements become reduced, sometimes completely ‘frozen'. It is essentially any form of shoulder pain that limits the range of motion in the shoulder.
What causes a Frozen Shoulder?
Frozen shoulder is the result of scarring, thickening, and shrinkage of the joint capsule. Frozen shoulder causes your shoulder joint capsule to shrink, which leads to pain and reduced range of shoulder movement. The shoulder capsule is the deepest layer of soft tissue around the shoulder joint. This plays a major role in keeping the humerus within the shoulder socket.
Three Stages of Frozen Shoulder:
Frozen Shoulder develops in 3 stages. Each stage can comprise of a few years duration:
- Freezing Painful Stage: This stage associated with pain in which there is a gradual onset of diffuse shoulder pain. This stage can last between six weeks and nine months. Any movement of the shoulder joint worsens the pain. At the same time, the range of movements of the shoulder gets limited.
- Frozen Stage: In this stage, the stiffness is more in comparison to pain. The pain has settled down with time & by this stage appears to be giving way to stiffness. This can last between four and six months. In this condition the patient may feel as if his shoulder has been frozen. The range of shoulder movements has decreased considerably.
- Thawing Stage: In this stage, the symptoms have come down. The pain and stiffness gradually go and movement gradually returns to normal, or near normal. This stage can last between six months and two years.
Who is likely to get Frozen Shoulder?
- The condition is more likely to occur around 45-50 years and is seen more commonly in women.
- Those with thyroid disorders
- Those who must rest for long hours after sustaining an injury or being operated on
- Those with chronic inflammatory arthritis of the shoulder
Remedies for Frozen Shoulder
Treatment for frozen shoulder will vary, depending on the stage of the condition and the severity of your pain and stiffness. During early stage, the main focus is on relieving pain.
- Abhyanga – this is a powerfully relaxing warm oil and herbal medicine massage. It involves applying gentle to firm pressure and long fluid stokes. In this, the oil is applied all over the patient’s body and then using smooth gentle movements it is rubbed to let the oil get absorbed deeply into the body. One of the most rejuvenating treatments in Ayurveda, its benefits are numerous. It is known for improving blood circulation, rejuvenating the whole body, calming the nervous system, balancing vata dosha and is the best treatment for arthritis, frozen shoulder and lower back ache.
- Nadi Swedana – is an Ayurvedic practice involving localized application of steam with herbal decoctions and medicated oils. This kind of steam treatment is focused specifically on areas of the body that are undergoing chronic pain say sore joints or muscles. It is used to effectively cure body pain such and to improve mobility and flexibility. This is a perfect therapy for people suffering from chronic pain such as tendonitis, shoulder or neck pain, frozen shoulder etc.
- Bruhan Nasya – This procedure purges and rejuvenates the tissues and organs of the head and neck. It is an Ayurvedic detox therapy in which medications in the form of oil, decoctions or powders are instilled through the nose. It is done to cleanse the accumulated Kapha toxins from the head and neck region.
- Elakizhi – fresh herbal leaves (tamarind, garlic, eric, lemon) or herbal powders are boiled in medicated herbal oil then tied in cotton cloth and hot pack massage is given all over the body for a duration of 35-40 minutes. It rejuvenates the body cells, reduces heaviness & stiffness at the joint, improves blood circulation, increases flixibility & helps to increase the range of motion of the joints. It also removes any kind of neruo muscular pain and is effective for neck stiffness and sciatica as well.
- Pizhichil – an effective treatment for frozen shoulder and rheumatic diseases like arthritis, paralysis, nervous weakness and disorders. Two synchronized therapists pour warm, herbal oil over the entire body and massage in a special rhythmic way in tandem, gently integrating the oil into the tissues. It is most effectively done in conjunction with Panchakarma.
- Karpasasthyadi Thailam – it is an Ayurvedic oil used in the treatment of frozen shoulder, spondylosis and other neuro-muscular conditions caused due to Vata imbalance. It soothes nerves, muscles and relaxes the body. It has to be lightly heated and applied on entire body or affected part.
- Ashwagandha (Oil) – is a rejuvenative and antioxidant. Formations of Ashwagandha are used in capsules, extracts and formulas of the powdered root. It can be used externally in oil form for painful joints, frozen shoulder, nerve pain such as sciatica, numbness, muscle spasm and back pain. It promotes energy, strength and vitality, and is usually recommended during recuperation after illness. Prepared as an oil by infusing it in sesame oil, Ashwagandha can be rubbed into painful arthritic joints, frozen shoulders and used to ease nerve pain such as sciatica, numbness, muscle spasm and back pain.
- Shatavari – The herb's roots have been considered as a useful drug acting on all tissues as a powerful anabolic. This herb is known for it's anti-inflammatory qualities and used in frozen shoulder.
- Boswellia – is a herb found to reduce pain, swelling and morning stiffness effectively. The herb improves the blood supply to the joints and restores the integrity of blood vessels destroyed by spasms. It is an excellent remedy for acute pain and swelling and is safer than the conventional pain killers.
- Prasarinyadi Kashaya – is an effective Ayurveda herbal decoction which is used in the treatment of frozen shoulder. It is also effectively in weakness and immobility of the shoulder, arm and upper limb mainly predominant with pain, stiffness and reduced movements and other vata predominant diseases.
- Erand – this herb can be applied on frozen shoulder, gout and rheumatic swellings to get beneficial results. It is a muscle relaxant.
- Dashmool Kwath – it exerts anti-inflammatory effect and reduces severity of pain and morning stiffness. It pacifies vata and nervous system. It controls the degeneration of joints and rheumatic disorders.
- Acupuncture – It is largely considered the single most effective treatment option of any form. It reduces pain and inflammation by stimulating nerves located in muscles and other tissues, which leads to release of endorphins and other neurohumoral factors.
Shoulder Exercises –
- Stand straight with your hands on the side. Roll your shoulders slowly in clock wise and anti clock wise direction 10 times each. This helps to regain shoulder mobility.
- Move your shoulder blades up and down 10 times to open up the neck and shoulder region.
- Abduction of shoulder joint – raise your right hand side wise parallel to your shoulder. Move it up, hold up till count 5 and then move down. Do this 10 times with each of your hands.
- To strengthen your shoulder muscles, stand straight and interlock fingers of your hands. Hold the interlocked position in front of your chest, then raise it up above your head and slowly get it back to the original position.
- Stretching Exercises – This is another great way to treat frozen shoulder. You can use a number of different stretching methods. Consult with your physiotherapist for stretching exercises that use specific techniques to move the joint in all directions.
- Yoga Postures – Regular practise helps in regaining joints flexibility, improves range of motion, strengthens the arms and muscles and improves muscular alignment.
- Tadasana – it is one of the most effective exercises to tone your shoulder muscles and alleviate pain. It provides immense spinal and shoulder relaxation after performing it.
- Pada Hastasana – this pose works both to strengthen and stretch your body. It stretches the hamstring, spine, sciatic nerve and is good for frozen shoulder and relieves lower back pain.
- Parvatasana – This asana tones and strengthens the shoulder muscles and relaxes the spine.
- Dhanurasana – Standing in the bow posture helps to open the shoulders, hips, spine releasing emotion and stress from the tissues. It helps with frozen shoulder and alleviates pain associated with carpal tunnel, arthritis, tennis elbow and spondylosis.
- Ustrasana – An effective back and shoulder strengthening yoga pose, it improves flexibility of the spine, improves posture and relieves the body of lower back ache.
- Right Posture – Sitting in the right posture helps to ease the symptoms. Avoid slumping and slouching. While sleeping, if you sleep on your back, place a pillow below the arm (on the side that hurts) while resting your hand on your stomach.
Performing an exercise routine that helps maintain overall shoulder strength and flexibility will help prevent frozen shoulder.If you are a diabetic, hypertensive or suffer from any chronic conditions start home remedies only after consulting your doctor.