Treating frozen shoulder with acupuncture and tuina. Anyone who has ever suffered from frozen shoulder will know how incredibly painful and restrictive a condition it is. Stiffness and pain make it hard to sleep; putting on clothes becomes a major task and rotating the arm almost impossible. In short, it’s disabling.
It predominantly affects women between the ages of 40 and 60 years old but men also suffer from it.
The pain and stiffness is usually felt on top of the shoulder, front and back, then external rotation of the arm becomes painful and limited – perhaps 50% of normal movement, and it may be impossible to sleep on the affected side. Pain from the neck, and all the way down the arm are also common. The pain and level of restriction continue to get worse. All the evidence shows it can take from two or five years for it to improve – or to ‘thaw’ – sometimes of its own accord.
But who wants to put up with that kind of pain for that long?!
There are a number of therapies that may help (osteopathy, physiotherapy, corticosteroid injections). I’m going to tell you about how acupuncture, TuiNa and cupping will help…
Acupuncture is so effective for musculoskeletal conditions that osteopaths and physiotherapists are increasingly using needles to support their treatments. This is known as dry needling. However, what qualified TCM acupuncturists do is to also needle energetic points that move energy (qi), reduce stagnation and alleviate pain. It’s a double whammy.
TuiNa is a remedial massage, that using a mixture of massage techniques to manipulate muscles, joints and tendons alongside acu-points that work on an energetic level. It’s a very strong and dynamic treatment.
Cupping, which has been used since 1500 BC is believed to stimulate the flow of blood, lymph and Qi to the affected area. Its uses include relieving pain in the muscles, especially from stiffness or injury, and clearing congestion in the chest, which can occur with colds and flu. It involves the use of a cup which causes a local suction, placed open end down on the part of the body that is experiencing distress. The procedure extracts toxins, releases tension and moves stagnation. Marks resembling bruising may remain, but they are not at all painful and will fade after a few days.
An acupuncturist may also use electro-acupuncture (a machine that emits electrical impulses to needles) and moxa (a herb placed on needles and lit) to further stimulate the acupuncture treatments.
Usually clients will feel some relief on the first treatment, but by the 6th many are pain free and have anywhere between 80 to 100% full flexibility and movement.*
With a box of tricks like that, who needs to wait years to feel better?
* this is based on my personal experience in my clinic.