Acupuncture for Frozen Shoulder

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Last Updated on March 22, 2024


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The shoulder is a highly mobile joint that has an exceptional range of motion.  Adhesive capsulitis, better known as frozen shoulder, is a condition in which the shoulder’s normal range of motion is greatly reduced. It is also associated with pain that can be dull, aching and constant, and also punctuated by occasional sharp pains.  Frozen shoulder can make normal daily activities like washing your hair difficult and make sleep difficult, as pressure on the affected arm is intolerable. 


Frozen shoulder can occur after an injury or any situation that causes you to not use the joint normally. Surgeries, strokes and diabetes are all associated with frozen shoulder. In frozen shoulder, the capsule of connective tissue and tendons that surround the joint become adhered and stiff, not allowing normal movement.  In a frozen shoulder there is less synovial or joint fluid and the normal lubrication of the joint is replaced with thickened scar tissue.  


At Inner Gate Acupuncture your acupuncturist will perform a full evaluation of your body and of the shoulder joint.  Acupuncture is used to treat fascia, muscle and the connective tissue of the shoulder joint. Then active stretching and mobilization of the joint is performed. The combination of acupuncture and mobilization has been shown to be more effective than stretching alone. 

Herbal remedies which help build blood and fluids in the body are often combined with acupuncture to improve the results. Frozen shoulder often affects middle-aged people and those with injuries or other diseases.  Using herbal therapies to correct the underlying disease process is an important part of the tool kit available to the trained acupuncturists at Inner Gate Acupuncture here in Portland.  

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