Frozen shoulder or adhesive capsulitis is an extreme form of restricted shoulder mobility and chiropractic treatment can help your pain by adjusting the subluxation in your shoulder.
After a shoulder or arm injury, you likely wore a cast or a sling to heal. While immobilization is vital for healing, one potential downside is that it can cause adhesive capsulitis or frozen shoulder.
The ligaments, tendons, and bones in your shoulder joint are surrounded by a capsule of tissue. After an injury, scar tissue can form around the capsule of this ball-and-socket joint. It may be difficult to move your arm because the scar tissue is so thick and tight.
When you recover from a condition or procedure that prevents you from moving your arms, such as a stroke or mastectomy, stiff shoulders can develop. Typically, symptoms start gradually and worsen over time but can resolve within weeks or even months.
Frozen shoulders typically develop slowly in three stages, and each phase can take several months.
Freezing Stage: The range of movement in the shoulder begins to be limited, and the movement of the shoulders causes the pain.
Frozen Stage: At this stage, the pain may decrease, but it can continue for a few weeks, months, or even years.
Thawing Stage: The shoulder becomes stiff, and the range of motion in the shoulder begins to improve but can become stiff again after a few weeks, months, or even years.
Frozen shoulder occurs when the capsule thickens, tightens, and restricts its movement. Bones, ligaments, and tendons, which make up the shoulder joint, are encased in a capsule of connective tissue. Doctors are not sure why this happens in some people, although it is more common in women than men and among people between the ages of 40 to 60. Some people may develop a frozen shoulder on the opposite shoulder, but it is unusual for frozen shoulders to occur repeatedly in the same shoulder.
Your chiropractor can use transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) devices to relieve your pain. During electrical stimulation, your chiropractor will place low-voltage electrodes on your shoulder that send pulses to cramped muscles. These pulses interrupt neurotransmitters that cause pain and help relax muscles so that they can be stretched.
Because your arm was immobilized after your injury, you may have held your body in an odd position to compensate. If the rest of your spine is readjusted, it may be easier to build the range of movement in your shoulder.
Lastly, your chiropractor can incorporate therapy into your treatment. There are therapy modalities that are fantastic at breaking up adhesions around the shoulder capsule; also increases blood flow, which helps to warm up the muscles and improve flexibility around the shoulder.