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5 Holistic Approaches to Healing a Frozen Shoulder at Home

  • Dr. Steve Young
  • 27 Mar, 2023

5 Holistic Approaches to Healing a Frozen Shoulder at Home

A frozen shoulder, also known as adhesive capsulitis, is a condition in which the shoulder joint becomes stiff and painful, making it difficult to move. It usually comes on slowly and can be caused by a number of things, such as an injury, surgery, or a disease like diabetes. There are medical treatments for frozen shoulder, but there are also a number of home remedies that can help ease the pain.

Before we dive into those remedies, let's take a closer look at the anatomy and physiology of the shoulder joint. The shoulder is a ball-and-socket joint that is composed of three bones: the humerus (upper arm bone), the scapula (shoulder blade), and the clavicle (collarbone). The head of the humerus fits into a shallow socket in the scapula, which allows for a wide range of motion in the shoulder joint.

A capsule of connective tissue surrounds the joint. This capsule helps keep the bones in place and gives the joint stability. Inside the capsule is synovial fluid, which helps lubricate the joint and reduce friction between the bones. When the capsule becomes inflamed or thickened, it can limit the range of motion in the joint, leading to a frozen shoulder.

Now that we have a better understanding of the anatomy and physiology of the shoulder joint, let's look at some home remedies for frozen shoulder.

Stretching exercises are one of the most effective ways to help relieve the stiffness and pain associated with frozen shoulder. These exercises can increase range of motion and reduce pain. Some effective stretches for frozen shoulder include shoulder rolls, wall walks, and pendulum exercises. Before starting any new exercise routine, it's important to talk to a doctor or physical therapist, especially if you already have a medical condition.

Heat therapy: Putting heat on the hurt shoulder can help increase blood flow, ease pain and stiffness, and make the shoulder less stiff. A hot shower, warm towel, or heating pad can all be effective methods of heat therapy. It's important to avoid applying heat for too long or at too high a temperature, as this can lead to burns or further injury.

Cold Therapy: In some cases, cold therapy may be more effective at reducing pain and inflammation in the shoulder joint. Applying a cold pack or ice to the affected shoulder for 15 to 20 minutes at a time can help reduce swelling and numb the pain. It's important to avoid applying ice directly to the skin, as this can cause frostbite.

Massage therapy: Massaging the muscles and tissues around the shoulder joint can help get more blood to the area, ease pain and stiffness, and improve blood flow. It's important to use gentle pressure and avoid massaging directly over the joint, as this can exacerbate inflammation and pain.

Anti-inflammatory Foods: Certain foods, such as turmeric, ginger, and omega-3 fatty acids, have anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce inflammation in the shoulder joint. By adding these foods to your diet, you can help ease shoulder pain and stiffness.

Essential Oils: Some essential oils, like lavender and peppermint, have natural pain-killing and anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce pain and swelling in the shoulder joint. You can get relief by mixing these oils with a carrier oil, like coconut or jojoba oil, and putting them on the affected area.

While these home remedies can be helpful in relieving the symptoms of a frozen shoulder, it's important to see a doctor if your symptoms persist or worsen. In some cases, medical treatment, such as physical therapy, steroid injections, or surgery, may be necessary to fully treat the frozen shoulder.

A frozen shoulder is a painful and frustrating condition that can make it hard to move and make your life less enjoyable. But there are a number of home remedies that can help ease the symptoms and speed up the healing process. It is critical to treat frozen shoulder holistically, which includes stretching exercises, heat and cold therapy, massage, anti-inflammatory foods, and essential oils in your daily routine.

It's also important to be patient and consistent in your approach. A frozen shoulder can take several months or even years to fully heal, and progress may be slow at times. But if you're willing to take care of yourself and try different home remedies, you can reduce pain and stiffness, improve your range of motion, and eventually get better.

In addition to these home remedies, there are also a number of things you can do to avoid getting a frozen shoulder. Some of these are having good posture, not doing the same movements over and over again, staying active and keeping a healthy weight, and taking care of any underlying medical conditions, like diabetes, that might make your risk higher.

References:

  • Mayo Clinic Staff. (2021). Frozen shoulder. Mayo Clinic. Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/frozen-shoulder/symptoms-causes/syc-20372684
  • Cole, A. K., & McGrath, J. M. (2016). Therapeutic Exercise for Adhesive Capsulitis (Frozen Shoulder). International journal of sports physical therapy, 11(5), 744–759.
  • Lee, H., Lee, S. H., & Kim, S. K. (2017). Efficacy of Heat Therapy and Cold Therapy in the Treatment of Adhesive Capsulitis: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Journal of physical therapy science, 29(9), 1724–1727.
  • Mathew, L., & Sheetal, R. (2021). Essential oils for pain management: A systematic review. Journal of traditional and complementary medicine, 11(2), 103–113.

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