Frozen Shoulder Syndrome is a very common condition, all the more vexing because of the high rate of misdiagnosis. It is mysterious because onset can be either traumatic or nontraumatic, and have a variety of contributory causes, any of which may be primary.

Frozen Shoulder Syndrome is the sudden loss of range of motion of one shoulder joint, often occurring in just a few days, with no apparent inciting event. There is severe pain that limits motion. Sudden moves wherein one forgets the condition may result in blinding pain that may bring the patient to his knees.

Pain may keep the patient awake at night. Taking sweaters and jackets on and off suddenly now has become a monumental undertaking.

After the rapid onset, Frozen Shoulder may persist for weeks, months, or years.

Most disconcerting.

Symptoms include:

    Loss of abduction
    Loss of internal rotation; can’t touch opposite scapula behind the back
    Loss of extension
    Loss of lateral reach
    Loss of flexion: raising the arm fully
    Severe guarding spasms of the trapezius, rhomboids, and rotator cuff muscles
    Sharp paralyzing pain if full range is suddenly attempted
    Radiating severe neuromuscular pain from acromion to distal biceps, occasionally to wrist in advanced cases
    Pain may be temporarily incapacitating, taking one’s breath away
    Pain is relieved by limitation of motion – hence the name

This article very likely has already gone far beyond the depth of the average medical visit, which will have the patient out the door in 10 minutes or less with a prescription for Motrin, and if persistent, cortisone. We all know the drill. X-rays will be normal, in the off chance they are taken. Medicine doesn’t have time for these conditions which don’t warrant high expenditures of testing and the possibility for serious interventional procedures.

In a small number of cases, cortisone injection may actually be effective in the short run, despite the fact that continued use is most certainly destroying most of the tissues involved: bursa, rotator cuff ligaments and muscles, tendons. But in general, steroids have little effect on Frozen Shoulder because the underlying cause is not addressed.

Chiropractic techniques abound for Frozen Shoulder, and even the most primitive attempts may show some improvement. But for anyone who requires full use of both arms, some improvement will not do. A cure is required. Fortunately there are some excellent chiropractic techniques which can generally bring full resolution.

There are many components of the Syndrome, which is actually good news: it affords many approaches to a cure. Like most neuromusculoskeletal disorders, there is usually a metabolic involvement.

Let’s start with the metabolic approaches.

First, diet. To avoid antagonizing localized inflammation, acidifying, allergenic foods obviously should be suspended. Something resembling the New West Diet should be followed, at the very least. All that caffeine, all that HFCS, all that pasteurized dairy, hydrogenated oil – probably contributed to onset, and is certainly not going to promote a cure. So that’s the first IQ test: how badly does the patient want to be cured?

Second, detoxing the systemic allergenics which may be aggravating the condition. Clear the blood. Enzymes, oral chelation, Florabiotics, colon cleanse.

Third, hydration. Two litres – you know what to do.

Fourth, Hydrolyzed Collagen. This works best with a major loading dose: 3 heaping tablespoons blended in fruit juice, twice a day. That’s it. Not just when you remember, or when you feel like it, or you’ll ‘try,’ but every single morning and every single night. This will be about a pound per week, but just continue until the damage is repaired. Most people notice ancillary benefits in other areas – skin improves, hair growth, weight loss, lean muscle gain, other chronic arthritic areas resolve. Nice bonus, but that’s not our focus here. We are out to cure the Frozen Shoulder – completely. This step right here can be 80% of the cure.

Fifth, fish oil. Back to the old fashioned ways. They worked because they were enormously successful as antioxidants and anti-inflammatories. Try 3 capsules per day. Miss days if you want to keep the Syndrome.

Now for the chiropractic techniques.

1. Clear the brachial plexus from any possible subluxation via vertebral adjustment. If you don’t know what that means, woe unto your patients. We know what schools you went to. Time for some education. Neurology courses, basic chiropractic courses – not the yammering insipid ones. The legit ones. This obstruction can be the sole and only cause of these conditions, and you can balance meridians, rub neurolymphatics, shake and bake, do core exercises till the cows come home and nothing may have any effect whatsoever until the simple subluxation is reduced.

2. Neuromuscular re-balancing. There are many versions of this approach, varying from the completely senseless to truly miraculous. The usual variables apply, as with any form of physical medicine:

    Technical competence and experience of the doctor
    Intent and focus of the doctor
    Willingness of the patient to be well
    Compliance with treatment program
    Limitations of matter: amount of actual tissue destruction

One mechanism which can bring sudden onset of Frozen Shoulder is an unusual reaching or twisting act, as when the patient is off balance, or contorted somehow. The lockup can be caused by the failure of an agonist/antagonist muscle pairing. Flexors vs extensors, internal vs. external rotators, etc. If one half of a pair of muscles does not fire for some reason, or if both muscles in the pair fire simultaneously because one has failed to relax, and then both remain switched on, Frozen Shoulder Syndrome may be the result.

Full shoulder motion involves the fluid, unrestricted, and instantaneous coordination among many muscle groups. If one member of the team has shut down – for whatever reason – the entire group of efferents sending down all those coordinated messages from the corticospinal tract may rebel. Lock-up. Refusal. Another of the body’s instinctive mechanisms to protect nerve structures.

There are several formal and informal chiropractic techniques which come at Frozen Shoulder from this perspective.

4. Proprioceptive PRT technique. Powerful new technique developed by Dr Jose Palomar of Guadalajara. Esoteric, complicated, advanced AK technique, but frequently effective, often showing dramatic immediate results in one day or less. Practitioners are as rare as an honest man in Congress. Dr Dale Mortensen of San Francisco and Dr Brian Garrett of San Diego are two of the best.

5. Muscle strengthening If opposing muscles are incapable of parallel response, it may be simply due to a loss of tone and strength. Start with pushups. If one a day is all you can do, then that’s your starting point. In most cases doing pushups does not aggravate the Frozen Shoulder and may actually relieve pain. Lats, deltoids, triceps, biceps, etc. — strengthen the area. Deep massage may be effective to unlock the joint before strengthening exercises will be beneficial. Probably won’t do much good unles it hurts.

6. Stretching Get one of those new pull-up bars at Big 5 or wherever that go into a doorway without any screwing of anything. Grab the bar and lean back using your body’s weight to stetch the traps and rotator cuff in a relaxed way. Twenty seconds is the absolute minimum valuable stretch, of course. More is better. Mild discomfort is OK. But this step cannot be omitted if you’re looking for the cure. Without missing a day. It’s the criterion for improvement.

7. K-laser Now I’m not getting any kickbacks for saying this (like some we know), but it has come to my attention that laser technology has leapt far forward in the years since my articles about equine leg problems and the Microlight. So many arthritic problems persist because the body just can never get past the amount of inflammation that is chronically limiting the phagocytosis and carrying off of the dead cells and debris. That’s just one part of the physiology involved that can respond overnight to a few well placed treatments with this most modern of healing devices. As many failures as cures, though.

There it is. How many of these will you have to do to get cured? How would I know? The answer is as many as it takes until you’re normal again. But what choice do you really have? The geniuses have nothing for you. The hands-on approach is your only option here.

Unless you’re ready to get put out to pasture, that is. As a gimp, whining about a Frozen Shoulder.

Get to work!