Frozen Shoulder Syndrome is a very common condition, all the more vexing because of the high rate of misdiagnosis. It is mysterious because onset can be either traumatic or nontraumatic, with a variety of contributory causes, any of which may be primary.
Frozen Shoulder Syndrome is the sudden loss of range of motion of one shoulder joint, often occurring in just a few days, with no apparent inciting event necessary. There is severe pain that limits motion. Sudden moves because one forgets the condition may result in blinding pain that can bring the patient to his knees.
Pain may keep the patient awake at night. Taking sweaters and jackets off and on suddenly has become a monumental undertaking. Being forced to switch which arm goes into a jacket first is an unfavorable sign.
Following a rapid onset, Frozen Shoulder may persist for weeks, months, or years.
Left untreated or incorrectly treated, the condition can be debilitating and even permanent.
Loss of abduction – raising arm to the side
Loss of internal rotation; can’t touch opposite scapula behind the back
Loss of extension
Loss of lateral reach
Loss of flexion: raising the arm fully overhead
Severe guarding spasms of the trapezius, rhomboids, and rotator cuff muscles
Sharp paralyzing pain if full range is suddenly attempted
Radiating severe neuromuscular pain from acromion to distal biceps, occasionally to wrist in advanced cases
Pain may be temporarily incapacitating, taking one’s breath away
Pain is relieved by limitation of motion – hence the name
This article very likely has already gone far beyond the depth of the average medical visit, which will have the patient out the door in 10 minutes or less with a prescription for Motrin, and if persistent, cortisone. We all know the drill. X-rays will be normal, in the off chance they are taken. Medicine doesn’t have time for these conditions which don’t warrant high expenditures of testing and the possibility for serious interventional procedures. Dead end.
In a small number of cases, cortisone injection may actually be effective in the short run, despite the fact that continued use is most certainly destroying most of the tissues involved: bursa, rotator cuff ligaments and other shoulder muscles and tendons. But in general, steroids have little effect on Frozen Shoulder because the underlying cause is not addressed.
Therapeutic techniques for Frozen Shoulder abound, and even the most primitive will likely show some improvement. But for anyone who requires full use of both arms, some improvement will not do. A cure is required.
Fortunately there are some excellent techniques available which can bring full resolution.
There are many components of the Syndrome, which is actually good news: all the more avenues in to a cure.
As with most neuromusculoskeletal disorders, there is usually a metabolic component.
First, diet. To avoid antagonizing the localized inflammation, acidifying, allergenic foods obviously should be suspended. Something resembling the New West Diet should be undertaken, at the very least. All that caffeine, all that HFCS, all that pasteurized dairy, hydrogenated oils, refined CHOs – probably contributed to onset, and are certainly not going to promote a cure.
So that’s the first part of the IQ test: how badly does the patient want to be cured?
Second, detoxing the accumulated systemic allergens, which may be aggravating the condition. Clear the blood. Enzymes, oral chelation, Florabiotics, colon cleanse.
Third, hydration. Two litres – you know what to do.
Fourth, Hydrolyzed Collagen. This works best with a major loading dose: 3 heaping tablespoons blended in fruit juice, twice a day. That’s it. Not just when you remember, or when you feel like it, or you’ll ‘try,’ but every single morning and every single night. This will be about a pound per week, but just continue until the damage is repaired. Most people notice ancillary benefits in other areas – skin improves, hair growth, weight loss, lean muscle gain, other chronic arthritic areas resolve. Nice bonus, but that’s not our focus here. We are out to cure the Frozen Shoulder – completely. This step right here can be 80% of the cure.
Fifth, fish oil. Back to the old fashioned ways. They worked because they were enormously successful as antioxidants and anti-inflammatories. Try 3 capsules per day. Nordic Naturals, MOR, or other high end versions, some available at Whole Foods. Miss days if you want to keep the Syndrome.
Now for the chiropractic techniques.
1. Clear the brachial plexus from any possible subluxation via vertebral adjustment. If you don’t know what that means, woe unto your patients. We know what schools you went to. Time for some education. Neurology courses, basic chiropractic courses – not the yammering insipid ones. The legit ones. This obstruction can be the sole and only cause of these conditions, and you can balance meridians, rub neurolymphatics, do core exercises till the cows come home and nothing may have any effect whatsoever until the simple subluxation is reduced.
2. Neuromuscular re-balancing. There are many versions of this approach, varying from completely senseless to truly miraculous. The usual variables apply, as with any form of physical medicine:
Technical competence and experience of the doctor
Intent and focus of the doctor
Willingness of the patient to be well
Compliance with treatment program
Limitations of matter: amount of actual tissue destruction
One mechanism which can bring sudden onset of Frozen Shoulder is an unusual reaching or twisting act, as when the patient is off balance, or contorted somehow. The lockup can be caused by the failure of an agonist/antagonist muscle pairing. Flexors vs extensors, internal vs. external rotators, etc. If one half of a pair of muscles does not fire for some reason, or if both muscles in the pair fire simultaneously because one has failed to relax, and then both remain switched on, Frozen Shoulder Syndrome may be the result.
Full shoulder motion involves the smooth, unrestricted, and instantaneous coordination among many muscle groups. If one member of the team has shut down – for whatever reason – the entire group of efferents sending down all those coordinated messages from the corticospinal tract may rebel. Lock-up. Refusal. Another of the body’s instinctive mechanisms to protect nerve structures.
There are several formal and informal chiropractic techniques which come at Frozen Shoulder from this perspective.
3. Proprioceptive PRT technique. Powerful new technique developed by Dr Jose Palomar of Guadalajara. Esoteric, complicated, advanced AK technique, but remarkably effective, often showing dramatic immediate results in one day or less. Practitioners are as rare as an honest man in Congress. Dr Dale Mortensen of San Francisco and Dr Brian Garrett of San Diego are two of the best.
4. Muscle strengthening. If opposing muscles are incapable of parallel response, it may be simply due to a loss of tone and strength. Start with pushups. If one a day is all you can do, then that’s your starting point. In most cases doing pushups does not aggravate the Frozen Shoulder and may actually relieve pain. Lats, deltoids, triceps, biceps, etc. — strengthen the area. Deep massage may be necessary to unlock the joint before strengthening exercises will be beneficial.
5. Stretching. Get one of those new pull-up bars at Sports Authority or wherever that go into a doorway without any screwing of anything. If you have to stand on a stool to start reaching it, then you do. Figure out how to reach the bar. Twenty seconds is the absolute minimum valuable stretch, of course. More is better. Mild discomfort is OK. But this step cannot be omitted if you’re looking for the cure. Without missing a day. It’s the criterion for improvement.
6. K-laser. Now I’m not getting any kickbacks for saying this (like some we know), but it has come to my attention that laser technology has leapt far forward in the years since my articles about equine leg problems and the Microlight. So many arthritic problems persist because the body just can never get past the amount of inflammation that is chronically limiting the phagocytosis and carrying off of the dead cells and debris. That’s just one part of the physiology involved that can respond overnight to a few well placed treatments with this most modern of healing devices. Find one and try it.
There it is. How many of these will you have to do to get cured? How would I know? The answer is as many as it takes until you’re normal again. But what choice do you really have? The geniuses have nothing for you. The hands-on approach is your only option here.
Unless you’re ready to get put out to pasture, that is. As a gimp, whining about a Frozen Shoulder.