Chiropractic Helps Frozen Shoulder Syndrome or Adhesive Capsulitis

Chiropractic Helps Frozen Shoulder Syndrome or Adhesive Capsulitis

Symptoms of Frozen Shoulder or Adhesive Capsulitis

  • pain in the shoulder
  • loss of motion in the shoulder, inability to raise arms
  • stiffness


What is Frozen Shoulder?


It can be a strange thing to suddenly have shoulder pain without injury or reason for the pain. This pain will stop you from moving your arms, which causes the shoulders to become stiff and to lose a range of motion. You may start asking others for help, reaching things that are above your head, and even reaching for things directly in front of you. Brushing your teeth and dressing becomes a daily issue. In time,  the arm will have a loss of rotation, and everyday activities such as reaching over the head or even raising the arm above a certain point becomes impossible. Frozen shoulder usually affects only one arm, though some in some cases, the other arm developed frozen shoulder at another point in time.


What Causes Frozen Shoulder?


It is not clearly understood what is the underlying cause of frozen shoulder. However, we do understand the progression of the condition. Frozen shoulder starts with an inflammation of the joint capsule of the shoulder joint. This shoulder joint holds the bones of the shoulder to each other with ligaments. The inflammation of the ligaments of the joint capsule causes the shoulder pain and over time, prevents a range of motion in the shoulder joint. The shoulder becomes “frozen” and unable to move.


Factors of Frozen Shoulder

inflamed joint capsule of the shoulder. frozen shoulder, adhesive capsulitis on

  • shoulder injury or surgery
  • often in people 40 – 70 years old
  • more often in postmenopausal women
  • often in people with chronic diseases
  • cervical disk (neck) subluxations or disease
  • hyperthyroidism
  • diabetes
  • open heart surgery


Your chiropractor will examine the shoulder and your spine and may order x-rays and/or MRIs to see if arthritis or other issues are a factor. If the diagnosis is frozen shoulder, daily intense physical therapy.

Extremity adjusting chiropractors will treat a frozen shoulder by adjusting the shoulder joint. These chiropractors will do an examination of the shoulder and the spine determine if the diagnosis is frozen shoulder. The range of motion will be tested laterally raising the arm to the side and raising the arm forward in the sagittal plane. Raising the arm to the back is typically not as restricted or as noticeable for the patient. After the examination, an extremity adjusting chiropractor will adjust the shoulder and most like also adjust the spine.

Even though most chiropractic adjustments are not typically painful. Some of the frozen shoulder adjustments may be painful.  However, adjustments for frozen shoulder will give the greatest amount of correction in the first visit. A short and sharp increase in pain may be felt directly after the adjustment, but the pain will calm down in a few minutes. After the pain subsides, the chiropractor will again test the range of motion, which can improve as much as 50% or more after the first visit with certain chiropractors. Typically, the pain will be less severe than before the adjustment. The chiropractor will then recommended some exercises.

Every subsequent adjustment for the frozen shoulder will show improvements in the range of motion, but these improvements will be less than after the first adjustment. Patients feel the greatest discomfort and pain when their range of motion is at 90 degrees or less. When the range of motion is greater than at 90 degrees, the pain is typically less.

Some chiropractors only adjust the spine, and sometimes only one area of the spine to restore proper nerve function by correcting joint position and function. Though it is possible that a patient with frozen shoulder will respond to this form of chiropractic care, if you want a more direct approach, you might consider seeing a chiropractor who does extremity adjusting.

If the amount of pain that you will need to endure for a correction is a big concern for you, then consider trying a chiropractor who will use an instrument adjusting technique or a low mass light adjusting technique. Instrument adjusting in most cases will not be as painful, but the results may take longer.

There are many different chiropractic techniques which all have their own merits. In some case your chiropractor may refer you to another chiropractor practicing a different technique if he or she feels that it may be beneficial. So if you have always had great results from you current chiropractor but they do not do any extremity adjusting, then a referral to another chiropractor who does extremity adjust might be something to consider. Often even one successful shoulder adjustment will remover the primary adhesion and you can then return to your original chiropractor.

Getting early treatment for frozen shoulder is the best way to prevent stiffness leading to a more severe case of frozen shoulder.

Chiropractors that can improve frozen shoulders offer patients a natural way to help the body heal itself.  Patients have said they can now brush their teeth and shampoo their hair again. Patients regain the gift of motion in their shoulders that many of us take for granted.


For Chiropractors

Chiropractors may want to offer their patients a shoulder roller for home therapy to help further increase the range of motion after the initial adjustment and release of the adhesion.

For chiropractors wanting to add a post adjustment in office therapy, or looking for good way to provide patient assisted passive range of motion for adhesive capsulitis and other shoulder mobility conditions—consider the following device and it’s optional mounting options as a way to help patients continue increasing their range of motion after their adjustments.


The Activator V for Spinal and Extremity Instrument Adjusting


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