Naturopathic Treatment for Frozen Shoulder

Treatment for a frozen shoulder

Treatment for a frozen shoulder typically necessitates an aggressive mixture of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications, steroidal injections directly into the affected shoulder joint, and physical therapy. A frozen shoulder, or adhesive capsulitis, can become permanent or chronic without a forceful treatment program.

Diligent physical therapy for a frozen shoulder is often essential for recovery. A physiotherapist will administer ultrasound, electrical stimulation, range of motion exercise maneuvers, stretching, ice packs, and possibly strengthening exercises. A treatment program consisting of physical therapy for a frozen shoulder may require weeks to months for improvement, depending on the damage to the tissues inside and around the affected shoulder joint.


Frozen shoulder treatment

People with frozen shoulders must avoid re-injury to the shoulder tissues during rehabilitation. They should also avoid abrupt movements or lifting weights with an affected shoulder.

Sometimes, frozen shoulders are challenging to treat. Patients with a firm, frozen shoulder may be considered for the release of scar tissue through arthroscopic surgery for frozen shoulder or manipulation of the scarred shoulder under anesthesia. This manipulation is performed to destroy the joint capsule’s scar tissue physically. It holds the risk of crashing the arm bone, known as a humerus fracture. For patients undergoing manipulation, it is vital to participate in an active shoulder exercise program after the procedure. Only constant stress on the shoulder will optimize mobility and functionality.

Other treatments for frozen shoulders are:

A corticosteroid injection into the shoulder joint for treatment of frozen shoulder 

This is another frozen shoulder treatment that can help reduce pain and improve the range of motion.

Joint distension.

Your doctor will inject sterile water into the shoulder capsule to stretch it. This may improve your shoulder’s range of motion (ROM).

Surgical treatment for frozen shoulder

Frozen shoulder is another frozen shoulder treatment rarely used to treat frozen shoulder. However, your doctor might advise surgery for a frozen shoulder if other treatments are ineffective. It would probably be an arthroscopic procedure. This means it’s made with pencil-sized, illuminated tools inserted through minor shoulder cuts.

Shoulder manipulation

This can help loosen the tissue in the shoulder, but it is rarely done because arthroscopic surgery for a frozen shoulder has replaced it. Surgeons moved the shoulder forcefully under general anesthesia. Physicians report an increased risk of complications with this shoulder manipulation technique, and fractures are one of those complications.

What is a frozen shoulder?

Frozen shoulder is a well-known medical condition when the shoulder joint stiffens, diminishing its movement ability. This medical ailment is also known as adhesive capsulitis.

The expression “frozen shoulder” is frequently misused for arthritis, but these two illnesses are unrelated. Frozen shoulder implies particularly the shoulder joint, while arthritis can describe the condition of other or more joints.

Frozen shoulder

It commonly affects people between 40 and 60 and is more likely in women than men. It is estimated to affect around 3% of people. A frozen shoulder ailment can impact either one or both shoulders.

Frozen shoulder is a medical disorder that impacts your shoulder joint. This is usually associated with pain and stiffness that develop gradually, worsen, and disappear. This can take anywhere from a year to three years.

Your shoulder is made up of three bones that form a ball-like connection. These are your shoulder (humerus), scapula (scapula), and collarbone (collarbone). There is also tissue around the shoulder joint that holds everything together. This is called the humeral capsule.

When the shoulder is frozen, the capsule becomes so thick and dense that it is difficult to move. Streaks of scar tissue form, and there is less synovial fluid that keeps the joint lubricated. These things further restrict movement.

Symptoms of frozen shoulder

The most common symptoms of frozen shoulder syndrome are severe pain and stiffness, making it difficult or impossible to perform any movements in the affected shoulder joint.

If you have a frozen shoulder, you are likely to feel a dull or aching pain in one shoulder. You may also feel pain in the muscles in your shoulder that span the upper arm. You can feel the same sensation in your shoulder. The pain can worsen at night, making it difficult to sleep.



You usually go through different frozen shoulder stages. Each stage of this illness has its own unique signs and timing.

Freezing stage:

  • You feel pain (sometimes severe) in your shoulder with every movement.
  • The condition worsens over time, and the pain may worsen at night.
  • The freezing stage can last from 6 months to almost a year.
  • Your shoulder’s mobility is limited.

Frozen stage:

  • The pain may decrease, but the stiffness will worsen.
  • It becomes more challenging to move the shoulder, and it becomes more challenging to cope with daily activities.
  • This stage can last 4–12 months.

Defrosting or thawing phase:

  • Both active and passive ROMs are back to normal.
  • The defrosting phase can last as long as 1.5 to 2 years.

What causes a frozen shoulder?

The causes of frozen shoulders are unclear, but some groups are more at risk. Frozen shoulder occurs more often in women than in men, and you are more likely to get the disease if you are between the ages of 40 and 60. The risk could also be increased if you are about to recover from a medical condition, such as a stroke, or surgery, such as a mastectomy, that prevents you from moving your arm.

frozen shoulder couses

Certain medical conditions can also increase the risk. One possible cause of frozen shoulders is diabetes. About 10%–20% of people with diabetes get their shoulders frozen. Other medical problems, such as heart disease, thyroid disease, or Parkinson’s disease, are also linked to frozen shoulders.

Home treatment for frozen shoulder

Home treatment for frozen shoulder is another natural approach to treating frozen shoulder that you can perform in the comfort of your home. Home treatment for a frozen shoulder can help reduce the symptoms of the illness.

The following are the most common home remedies for frozen shoulder:

Warmth and stretching of the shoulder

Before starting any shoulder exercises for a frozen shoulder, you should warm up your shoulder to promote blood flow to the affected area and prevent further injury. Patience is vital in treating a frozen shoulder, so give yourself time to heal and progress slowly. The goal is to get the shoulder moving gently, safely, and gradually again, but this can sometimes take months, so don’t rush.

Some of the most effective ways to stretch and warm up the shoulder include applying heat for 10 to 15 minutes, taking a warm shower or bath (including one with Epsom salts), and moving the shoulder gently in small circular movements if possible. You can create your own heating package or use a commercially available heating pad.

Exercises – an essential part of treatment for frozen shoulder

Exercise for a frozen shoulder is one of the home remedies for a frozen shoulder that can prevent and possibly reverse shoulder stiffness. One of the simple frozen shoulder exercises is the cross-arm stretch.


Frozen shoulder yoga poses

See the most common exercises for frozen shoulder described below:

  • Cross Arm Stretch: This frozen shoulder exercise involves holding the upper arm on the affected side and gently pulling the arm in front of you, under the chin. Hold for 30 seconds. Relax and repeat.
  • Pendulum Stretch: Stand with your shoulders relaxed. Bend forward with the hand of your good arm resting on a table. Let the affected arm hang vertically and swing in a small circle, about 1 foot in diameter. Enhance the diameter of the pendulum-like movements over several days as you gain strength.
  • Towel stretch: Grab both ends of the towel behind your back. Pull the towel and the diseased hand towards the shoulder with your good hand. Perform towel stretch exercises 10 to 20 times a day.
  • Underarm Stretch: This home remedy for a frozen shoulder is obtained by placing the affected hand on a ledge up to the chest area. Bend your knees slightly and straighten them to stretch under your armpits. Try to bend your knees deeper than the heels of your shoulders.
  • Toe walking: Stand in front of a wall with your fingertips placed on the wall at waist level. Keep your arm slightly bent. Slowly and evenly place your fingers against the wall as much as possible without putting too much strain on your arm. Do this exercise 10–20 times a day.

Naturally numb pain

As you have probably realized by now, gradually moving the frozen shoulder is the key to treating the condition. However, this can cause pain and discomfort. Instead of putting your faith in pharmaceutical painkillers, you can control your shoulder pain naturally with the help of holistic, naturopathic frozen shoulder treatments such as essential oils and other muscle relaxants.

Try using peppermint oil on the affected shoulder to increase circulation, reduce inflammation, and reduce pain. Massage therapy, physical therapy, magnesium cream, and acupuncture for shoulder pain could also help control swelling and improve the range of motion.

Lower the level of inflammation and prevent complications

To help control inflammation in the long term and prevent the injury from recurring, focus on a medicated diet and take anti-inflammatory supplements to help improve recovery. Anti-inflammatory supplements and herbs include turmeric, omega-3, magnesium, and CoQ10.

Foods that help fight inflammation include fresh vegetables and fruits, probiotic-rich foods (yogurt, kombucha, kefir, and farmed vegetables), grass-fed beef, wild-caught fish, cage-free eggs, and healthy fats such as nuts (seeds, avocado, coconut, and olive oil). Also, try to reduce other factors contributing to inflammation, such as high levels of mental stress, being overweight or obese, sitting for long periods, smoking, exposure to chemicals or toxins, and high exposure to vehicle vibration (for example, being a truck driver).

Acupuncture for frozen shoulder—an ancient Chinese treatment for frozen shoulder

Frozen shoulder acupuncture is an effective treatment modality for frozen shoulder relief. Also called adhesive capsulitis, a frozen shoulder is characterized by shoulder pain and loss of range of motion in the rotator cuff region. Arm movements become difficult, and a frozen shoulder often interferes with a peaceful night’s sleep.

Acupuncture for frozen shoulder

In a controlled experiment, researchers determined frozen shoulder acupuncture alleviates pain and restores shoulder range of motion in frozen shoulder patients.

The researchers measured the effectiveness of electroacupuncture and extracorporeal shock wave therapy (ESWT) as separate and combined treatment modalities. Both protocols achieved significant positive patient outcomes. The best results were achieved when both treatment modalities were combined into a comprehensive, integrated care regimen.

A combination of extracorporeal shock wave therapy (ESWT) and electroacupuncture reduces pain and improves the range of motion (ROM) of the shoulder joint in patients with frozen shoulder (adhesive capsulitis).

Homeopathic treatment for frozen shoulder

Frozen shoulder homeopathy is fundamentally different from conventional medicine. Natural remedies not only help patients recover well from the symptoms of the disease but also treat the cause responsible for the appearance of the discomfort.

Homeopathy believes in treating the underlying cause because if the cause is eliminated, an individual will not have symptoms of the disease. A complete medical history by the homeopathic doctor, which includes information about the duration of the symptoms, the underlying cause, the symptoms, and the modalities specific to the patient, will guide the doctor to the most appropriate medicine for the patient. If the drug is administered according to the similarity of symptoms, the patient can remarkably recover from the disease.

Frozen shoulder homeopathy has proven effective in treating frozen shoulder symptoms and reducing the chances of the disease reappearing. Also, homeopathic remedies can help a person maintain a healthy lifestyle once they fully recover from pain and stiffness.

Rhus Toxicodendron, Sanguinaria Canadensis, and Ferrum metallicum are among the top 3 homeopathic remedies commonly prescribed for frozen shoulder.

Below are detailed descriptions of these popular homeopathic remedies for frozen shoulder.

Rhus Toxicodendron:

Rhus Toxicodendron is a homeopathic remedy made from the plant’s raw leaves, belonging to the Anacardiaceae group. Rhus Toxicodendron is a fantastic homeopathic remedy for a frozen shoulder that can help alleviate and often cure long-standing conditions associated with significant stiffness in the shoulder joint. Rhus Toxicodendron is commonly used when the shoulder is too stiff to move. The rigidity of the shoulder joint usually gets better with applying warmth. It can also be helpful in cases where motion and massages tend to offer relief in stiffness. There is terrible tearing and shooting pain at the top of the shoulder joint. Discomforts and pains get worse during cold, rainy, damp weather. Pains become severe during rest, especially at night, preventing the patient from falling asleep. There is a persistent sense of tension or pressure on the shoulder as if something heavy is placed upon it.

Critical indications for using Rhus Tox:

  • Stiffness of the shoulder.
  • Shooting pain in the shoulder.
  • The pain gets better with the movement of the shoulder.

Sanguinaria Canadensis:

Sanguinaria Canadensis is derived from the plant bloodroot of the Papaveraceae family. Sanguinaria Can. It is an excellent remedy that shows an affinity with the pain in the right shoulder. The pains are present in the upper part of the right shoulder. The pains usually worsen during the night and while trying to roll over in bed. The patient feels great difficulty raising his arm due to aching pains.

Key Indications:

  • The right shoulder is affected.
  • There is a nocturnal aggravation of pain.
  • Difficulty lifting the arm

Ferrum Metallicum:

Ferrum Metallicum is an excellent treatment for frozen left shoulder disease. The left shoulder constantly hurts. The pain is pulling, shooting, tearing, and limping. The pain usually shoots downward and radiates down the arm, and the patient may feel unable to raise the arm. A person who needs this medicine feels excellent heaviness in the shoulder joint. The slow movement of the shoulder gradually improves the condition. Warmth can be given to relieve pain. The pain increases in bed; the patient has to get up and move slowly to feel relief.

Main indications:

  • The left shoulder is affected.
  • Increased pain on movement.
  • Heat or being in a warm environment helps to ease the pain.

Natural treatment for frozen shoulder in Philadelphia

Insufficient movements and elasticity around the shoulder joint and inflammation of the shoulder capsule, joints, and ligaments initiate a frozen shoulder. The “capsule” of the shoulder joint contains ligaments that hold the shoulder bones together and help with normal movement. Still, the capsule can become inflamed due to injury, overuse, surgery, or other reasons that impair the shoulder bones’ capacity to slide inside the joints. As the shoulder capsule becomes thicker and tighter, it tightens the shoulder joints even more, making the movement very painful.

Because the inflammation associated with a frozen shoulder starts to cause pain, it usually results in less movement. This starts a downward spiral, contributing to less movement and stiffness. So, unfortunately, the frozen shoulder sometimes becomes a vicious cycle: the initial pain and reduced mobility cause stiffness, which only causes a further reduction in mobility and pain. That’s precisely why stretching and exercising the frozen shoulder help prevent and resolve the problem.

Experiencing a frozen shoulder can keep you from exercising or pursuing your hobbies, but remember that a sedentary lifestyle and arm immobilization are significant causes of frozen shoulders. Exercise regularly will help keep your joints supple and prevent injuries if done safely. Sport has a natural “lubricating” effect on the joints and tissues; it also transports fluids from the lymphatic system through your body and strengthens immune function. That’s why they say, “If you don’t use it, you will lose it!”

Holistic treatment for frozen shoulders is effective and safe, and in many cases, acupuncture and homeopathic remedies for shoulder pain appear more effective than traditional protocols.

Acupuncture treatment performed by Dr Tsan

Contact Philadelphia Acupuncture Clinic to schedule your appointment for evaluation and discuss with Dr. Tsan which treatment modalities are better for you.