Frozen Shoulder: Using both Physical Therapy and Acupuncture

Adhesive Capsulitis, commonly known as Frozen Shoulder, is a condition involving pain and stiffness in your shoulder joint. The pain starts gradually.  It then increases, with motion limitation.  Over time the pain may subside but the stiffness (frozen) greatly increases causing discomfort and limited use.  It may last years before reducing. As a general rule, woman are more at risk then men.  It is more common over 40 years of age.  Treatments may include steroid shots, and sometimes surgery to reduce muscular and ligament tension.  Physical therapy is also an option.  At Breakthrough Wellness Center, we have approached frozen shoulder with a progressive fresh perspective: physical therapy and acupuncture together.  As most of you know, our philosophy at Breakthrough is that of treating different conditions with multiple disciplines, to get the best and fastest results.  Following that tradition, frozen shoulder is no exception.  This approach also has research to back it up.  In the Winter of 2002, 75 people with this condition were asked to participate in a study.  The average age of the participants was about 55 and they had the condition of frozen shoulder for 6 to 7 months.  30 of the participants received physical therapy and 30 participants received acupuncture treatments.  The final 15 patients received both PT and Acupuncture.  The patients were evaluated a few times during the course of the treatments.  They also filled out surveys during the treatments.  Overall, all the participants reported better quality of life.  Interestingly, the acupuncture patients reported better reduction of pain compared to the physical therapy patients. The physical therapy group had better improvement in range of motion when compared to their acupuncture counterparts.  However, the 15 patients receiving physical therapy and acupuncture together, had the BEST results!  The study concluded that using both physical therapy and acupuncture, or incorporating eastern and western medicine showed the most successful outcomes.1

At Breakthrough Wellness Center, frozen shoulder isn’t the only condition we use a multi-dicipline approach for.  Our acupuncturist, Yoosan Lee, and physical therapist, Dr. Xin Liu work together on many other health issues, from muscle injuries, headaches, chronic conditions like Multiple Sclerosis, and even weight loss!  And we aren’t even including chiropractic, pain management, spinal decompression, cold laser, and other disciplines we do here.  So what ever your condition may be, give us a call to see if we can help you with our progressive approach.

1 Dept of Health Service Management, College of Public Health, China Medical University, Taichung, Taiwan, ROC   Ma t, Kao MJ, Lin lH, Chiu YL, Chen C, Ho TJ, Chu BC, Chang YH