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Frozen Shoulder

My Frozen Shoulder is so painful that it keeps me awake at night.

Question

Could you tell me the best way to get rid of a frozen shoulder? Last July I had surgery (for something unrelated), and ever since my right shoulder has been painful. Now I have restricted movement. My doctor believes that ifs a result of the way I was treated under anaesthetic. Sometimes the whole of my arm hurts and keeps me awake at night.

Answer

Frozen shoulder is a folk description that has been absorbed into medical terminology. Of course, the shoulder doesn't actually freeze - it's just a way of expressing the sense of pain and restriction. Neither does it fuse, except in extreme cases of rheumatoid arthritis where the cartilage becomes so worn that the bone surfaces rub against each other.

In my experience, the problem is usually caused by strain or injury to muscles or tendons. In the same way, computer use, driving, playing sports such as tennis or golf, or lifting heavy weights can provoke repetitive strain injury. Stress may make the neck very stiff and it's possible then that some of the nerve roots which control shoulder movements become compressed.

I suspect that something must have happened while you were being transferred from the operating table to the trolley. During anesthesia, the muscles are completely relaxed, so it’s easy to pull the shoulder joint out of its socket and strain or tear muscles or tendons, resulting in painful inflammation. Both the actual pain and the fear of it send messages to the brain so that it stops all movement in the area by, creating spasm in the deltoid muscles which fan out over the shoulder. If the condition is not treated correctly, the muscles that move the shoulder joint will, over time, become increasingly stiff and wasted, causing permanent loss of power and movement in the shoulder.

The sooner a person seeks treatment for this condition the better. I have treated hundreds of cases and studied the shoulder very carefully to see exactly which muscles are involved. The shoulder is the only ball-and-socket joint that can move in every direction. Each movement is controlled by a pouch of muscles that together form the deltoids. A more common site of trouble, however, is the tendons of the biceps muscles. These tough tendons travel up to each shoulder and are attached to the socket of the shoulder joint. Repetitive strain injury of the bicipital tendon causes inflammation in it. The tendon then becomes very painful and you are able to move and lift the shoulder only to a certain point. As soon as the tendon touches the bones that form the socket or cup, of the ball-and-socket shoulder joint, there is excruciating pain and you can lift no further. This is what is known as frozen shoulder.

Tendons are always white because they contain very few blood vessels, unlike muscles, which are red with blood. So when tendons are injured they take longer to heal. (Bones, which have no blood supply, take longest of all).

Here are my suggestions for treating your shoulder:

  • To help the tendons and muscles heal better, avoid citrus fruits, coffee, alcohol, sugar and red meat.
  • Make chicken broth with the chopped up bones of a baby chicken (organic if possible), which are rich in gelatin, t o provide the natural calcium the body needs.
  • Take the supplement Coral Calcium daily soak two sachets in 1.5 liters of still, pure water; drink throughout the day.
  • Take Haldi to help dampen the inflammation: one tablet twice daily for two months.
  • Massage your shoulder using Dr Ali's Joint Oil , Back Massage Oil, or Weleda Massage Balm. Place the fingers of the opposite hand on the front top of the affected shoulder and put the thumb on the biceps. Slide your thumb up along the muscle until you reach a thick cord-like tendon in a groove. This will be very sore to touch. Use the oil to massage the tendon, gently to start with and increasing the pressure after every five to six strokes. The more you rub, the more blood comes to the area, helping it heal. Now use the palm to give the tendon a friction rub, pressing the palm on the surface and briskly rubbing up and down. The entire area will become red and hot, indicating blood flowing to it. This natural physiotherapy will heal the tendon. Treat your shoulder like this twice a day for a week and you will be amazed at the results.
  • Do yoga particularly helpful postures are half-cobra full cobra and salute to the sun. (To find a qualified yoga teacher, contact the British Wheel of Yoga tel: 01529 306851, (www.bwy.org.uk). Also simply clasp your hands at the back of your body, palms up, and push down.
  • Watch my video about frozen shoulder.
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