photo credit: blentley
Frozen shoulder is limiting and it can be painful. In Chinese medicine it is called 50 year shoulder because people tend to get it at middle age. Now you can learn how to avoid it, and how to to recover from it.
The most important thing in avoiding frozen shoulder is keeping it moving. Do gentle range of motion exercises every day, to keep the shoulder joint fully mobile. If you injure your shoulder, get treatment to heal it quickly. Avoid putting ice on it. Ice, though popular in the West, is considered harmful by the Chinese medical practitioners. It causes blood to coagulate and tendons to stiffen.
Treating Frozen shoulder
If you already have frozen shoulder, the therapy obviously changes. Exercise to increase range of motion, although painful, is vitally necessary. See an acupuncturist who specializes in injury management, or a physical therapist, for a good set of exercises targeted to your limitations. Regular deep massage, to break up the adhesions is very helpful. Use moist heat on the shoulder joint, daily. Wrap a hot moist towel around the shoulder and leave it in place for about 15 minutes.
Using Chinese herbal plasters and liniments: There are many liniments and herbal plasters designed for
various stages in injury management. 701plasters are the best plaster for frozen shoulder. It comes in a long roll, and you can cut off a piece with scissors. You may want two or three pieces at a time, as it won’t stick as well going around the joint. Peel off the plastic and place the plaster on the joint. You can leave it on for 24 hours. After a break for a day put another one on. Some people don’t like to walk around smelling like Chinese medicine, so they only leave it on over night.
The most easily available liniment that is useful for Frozen shoulder is Zheng Gu Shui. Like 701 plaster, Zheng Gu Shui is very warming, it panetrates the muscles and improves blood circulation. Massage the liniment in to the shoulder and the tight muscle around the shoulder, twice a day.
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As both 701 Plasters and Zheng Gu Shui are very warming, they should not be used on acute injuries, or
when inflammation is present. However they are useful other chronic injuries and arthritis, and other aches and pains that are worse when it is cold.
Acupressure Points for Frozen Shoulder
There are a number of points on the body that you can press or massage, that speed the healing of frozen shoulder. Generally it is best to use the point on the opposite side of the body from the frozen shoulder.
TH3 is on the back of the hand, between the last two bones of the hand, just above the fingers. The point should be tender.
ST38 is on the shin, just outside of the crest of the shin bone, half way between the knee cap and the ankle.
GB39 is one hands width above the outer ankle bone, just in front of the leg bone that runs down to the ankle.
Press or massage each of these points for about one minute, two or three times a day. Do it immediately before massaging liniment into the shoulder.
Check out Tom Bisio’s book, A Tooth From The Tiger’s Mouth, for more on treating yourself for frozen shoulder and other chronic and acute injuries.