Treatment for Frozen Shoulder

If you notice that your shoulder’s range of motion is becoming less and shoulder movement is becoming increasingly painful then you may be on your way to a frozen shoulder.

Frozen shoulder, also called adhesive capsulitis, is a painful condition that can disrupt your sleep and prevent you from moving the affected arm.

Your risk of developing frozen shoulder increases if you are over 40 and female.  Other risk factors are prolonged periods of immobility such as injury or a stroke, diabetes, heart disease, hyper or hypothyroidism, and Parkinson’s disease. 

The reason for these risk factors is poorly understood and a lot about frozen shoulder remains a mystery.  Traditional theories currently being explored are hormonal (females), genetics, autoimmune and postural (shortened shoulder ligaments due to rounded shoulders).   

Regardless of why you have frozen shoulder traditional treatment includes physical therapy for the shoulder, aggressive anti-inflammatory medications and surgery.  Often these treatments are not successful.

Recently a new theory has emerged that is all about posture and alignment. 

Dr. Francis X Murphy, DC, a practicing chiropractor out of Dallas, Texas theorizes that frozen shoulder is often due to a malfunction in the trapezius muscle, a large superficial muscle that extends from the occipital bone down to the lower thoracic vertebrae and then laterally to the shoulder blade (picture a diamond).  The trapezius muscle is responsible for moving the shoulder blade to help with shoulder movement, especially shoulder abduction above 120 degrees. 

The trapezius receives information from the spinal nerve, cranial nerve XI.  But due to poor alignment the blood flow to this nerve can become blocked and inflammation occurs.  This happens because of poor posture or repetitive movement that brings the head into a visibly forward posture.  When the head is chronically extended forward the lower cervical spine is forced into forward flexion.  This creates tension in the body which places pressure on the cranial nerve decreasing blood flow and increasing inflammation.

So for frozen shoulder to be treated no need to touch the shoulder.  Instead the focus should be on posture and alignment and bringing normal blood flow back to the brain stem and the cranial nerve responsible for controlling the trapezius. 

Posture is so important!  So instead of seeing your physician for medicine when your shoulder mobility starts to decrease, see a posture and alignment specialist.  Like us here at Healthy Habits!