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Frozen shoulder

frozen shoulderWhen it becomes a challenge to do simple tasks such as combing your hair due to shoulder pain, you may be a victim of frozen shoulder. Frozen shoulder, also referred to as adhesive capsulitis, is a disorder characterized by the soreness and stiffness in the shoulder joint.

Signs and symptoms of frozen shoulder often commence gradually and worsen with time; however, they do subside within a year or two.

A person’s risk of frozen shoulder typically increases when he or she is recovering from a medical condition or a medical procedure which has an impact on the mobility of your arm – such as a mastectomy or a stroke.

Treatment often revolves around stretching exercises, numbing medications or alternative treatments such as massage. Occasionally, surgery may also be needed to loosen the affected joint capsule in order for it to move freely.


Frozen shoulder often develops gradually in three stages. Each stage may last a certain number of months:

  • Painful stage. At this stage, the pain may occur with any movement of your shoulder and it’s range of motion becomes restricted
  • Frozen stage. Pain reduces during this stage. However, the shoulder stiffens and there is a substantial decline in your range of motion
  • Thawing stage. This is when your range of motion starts to improve

Some individuals may experience worsening pain during nighttime, which often disrupts normal sleep patterns.

Massage for frozen shoulder

When the connective tissues that enclose the shoulder become tighter, movement becomes painful and restricted. Pain may diminish later but the stiffness persists, affecting your daily life activities. This is followed by the thawing stage where pain and stiffness slowly begin to improve.

Although frozen shoulder gradually improves on its own, routine massages can make the condition easier to bear with until you recover. Many types of massages are available for frozen shoulder and your therapist will choose the one that is best suited for you. Talk about the problems you are facing with the condition so that the therapist has a better idea of how to approach the problem area.

Massage can improve inflammation, as swelling and tenderness are common complaints from patients with frozen shoulder. Tight joints and stiffness can impair the flexibility of the shoulder joint. Regular massage can enhance your range of motion and help you do your everyday chores much easier. Moreover, massage can encourage blood flow to the underlying tissues in the affected region which require nutrients and more oxygen to function better.



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