My Personal Approach to a Frozen Shoulder Treatment - Release Works Myofascial Therapy
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My Personal Approach to a Frozen Shoulder Treatment

I’d just like to discuss my personal approach to a frozen shoulder treatment. In my opinion, the so-called frozen shoulder, or adhesive capsulitis, is the name for a set of symptoms rather than an underlying medical condition or “set in stone” situation. This condition usually presents with stiffness and pain in the shoulder joint that makes even simple daily activities a challenge. If you’re one of the many adults in America experiencing these symptoms, it’s a real pain.  

Western medicine doctors openly admit that they “don’t fully understand the cause of frozen shoulder”, but it often shows up after a period of enforced shoulder immobility. It may also occur after a surgical procedure that limits arm movement. It also seems to affect people with certain health conditions, such as diabetes and other chronic health conditions. 

The characteristic signs include:

  • Pain and stiffness in the shoulder
  • Limited range of motion
  • The stiffness and pain may worsen over time.

How I Approach a Frozen Shoulder Treatment

So, I had somebody come into Release Works for help with a frozen shoulder treatment on her shoulder today. She’s had a lot of trouble in her shoulder for a while. It started when she tried lifting something during an event 4-5 years ago. It flared up and continued to cause her trouble. She found temporary relief with physical therapy and other methods over the years, but the pain, discomfort, and reduced mobility kept on coming back.

She was also experiencing the common neck pain and stiffness that often goes along with shoulder problems. Sometimes, it’s the shoulder that hurts more. Sometimes, it’s the neck that hurts more. But either way, both complaints usually go together in stiffness, if not also in pain.

As I started an evaluation for the frozen shoulder treatment – I began to look at and feel through things, it turned out she also had a misaligned pelvis. Her right hip was up and rotated forward in the common pattern, and this was causing troubles in her lower back. That’s not the problem she came in for, but something she was also experiencing. But it didn’t stop there – she had recently broken her left ankle, and that was causing more trouble in her pelvis. Her right foot and ankle were fairly stiff as well.

She had also recently fractured her ribs a bit in the last 5/6 weeks. There was also a previous fracture of the other side of the ribs years before, so she was holding her ribs in a kind of stiff, protective position. 

So, her trouble was in her shoulder and her neck. The pain was there, but as is so often the case, there were a whole host of problems below the surface in other areas of her body that you don’t automatically think are related. Anyway, I got to work with her. First, addressing some of the tightness in her abdomen that was pulling her pelvis forward into a forward tilt. I helped that to open, then continued with wedges and some leg pulls to help open her lower back.

This process took out some of the twisting and tipping forward of her pelvis, which is scrunching her lower back and pulling her shoulders and neck forward. I continued helping her abdomen and ribs. Of course, the recent healing fracture of her ribs was not something to do much with yet. I want them stabilized enough that the crack doesn’t get pulled further apart. 

Basically, I improved the overall forwardness of her shoulders. With her ribs, I helped that drop back. I helped her shoulders relax and drop down onto the table. With all that work, she was lying more easily on the table. I took a lot of the tension out of her neck.

I could then finally get to work there up with her neck, and I could feel that things had gone rigid. She’s in her late sixties, but this rigidity can happen much earlier. Her upper thoracic spine is pulled forward and rigidified. The vertebrae there can’t move. They can’t bend and twist like they ought to – they’re pulled forward into a stiff curve. And her neck, on top of that, is practically slipping off its base.

This stress is how we end up getting slipped disks and unnatural curves

So, there’s a lot of stiffness in her upper thoracic spine and lower cervical spine and a lot of stress in the upper cervical spine (her neck). And, of course, all the muscle spasms and soreness that go into “protecting” that. Plus, the nerve impingements that start to happen there. One of her shoulders was also pulled forward, away from the supporting structure of her spine. It’s dropped out from underneath her neck, and things are collapsing. Her neck is pulled forward and dropped, and her muscles are struggling to keep her back in place, and they are sore.

It’s a familiar pattern. But hers is a bit more advanced and progressed than others. However, you don’t get to your late sixties and suddenly have these issues. You don’t all of a sudden have your neck start going out and getting stiff or your shoulder hurting and having problems. Yes, some injuries happen that add to this. But how many times have you just slept wrong, or you got older, and you’ve just woken up stiff, or you turned, and you pulled something, and you went into spasm, and you locked up? This is not something that happens out of nowhere. This is a pattern we see set up over the previous decades. So, your typical 30-40-year-old already has established this pattern.

It just hasn’t caused a noticeable problem yet. They might notice the problem in terms of poor posture and limited mobility but not in terms of sharp pain and locked-up and spasmed necks and shoulders. Not yet. But the pattern is being established. Advance it a few years, tighten the screws a little bit more, add more degeneration and breakdown to the system, and suddenly, you’re in severe, sometimes debilitating pain. This type of pain is then what drives people to seek invasive surgery, nerve ablation or cortisone injections.

However, the right kind of structural work and myofascial release therapy can not only turn these problems off but also prevent the need for interventions like surgery or drugs. It can also start to reverse the problems. 

The woman I saw today asked, “Is it possible to improve?”

My response was, “Are you breathing?” 

Why is it that we give up on life and think that it’s over and that we should be in a home and stop doing anything by the time we get to 70 or 80? We have many patients in that age range who are still active, sharp, and more than capable.

It’s never too late. You can reverse much of what’s gone on, and your life can be so much better. We don’t get old and stiff. We get stiff and old. Instead, treat your body and your tissues well with the movement and the proper gliding mobility of the myofascial system, which allows your joints, your circulation, your nerves, and your entire body to move the way they should. To get the metabolic flow that they should. The oxygen and nutrients are in, and the metabolic wastes are out.

Now, having worked with this woman for this first session and gotten a start on changing what her pelvis is doing, changing what her lower back is doing, changing what her ribs are doing, not yet touching what her feet are doing, and her lower legs are doing. Having done that and then spent just a few minutes, just a little bit, with her neck, the pain that she came in for was already greatly improved.

She’s excited for what comes next. She’s excited about more improvement because she wants to continue skiing and having fun with her friends for the next 20/30 years. I’m excited to continue working with and to witness her evolution. 

If you take proper care of your myofascial system and the movement and glide of all parts of your body, you won’t be suffering the causalities and breakdowns that myofascial restrictions can cause throughout your entire body. So much more and so much better is possible than you currently believe. You can reverse most of what’s going on in old age, breakdown, and disease. We can’t 100% defeat ageing, of course.

But you can do much better once you come for a frozen shoulder treatment. If you’re experiencing shoulder pain or stiffness, it’s important to seek help. We can accurately diagnose the root causes(s) of your shoulder pain. To find out more about how I can help you, don’t hesitate to reach out for help or take advantage of our offer to book a free initial consultation. We can tailor a treatment plan for you and also educate you on how to prevent the condition from reoccurring.

Michael Sudbury LMT

Michael Sudbury LMT

Michael has been in pursuit of uncommon wisdom practically since the day he was born. This has led him through many twists and turns, questioning philosophies and excelling in school only to drop out near the end, abandoning career paths. He has a scientific mind but has come to understand that life and love require artistry, not facts, figures, and protocols. In his pursuit of true therapeutic artistry, Michael has trained extensively with the creator of The John F. Barnes' Myofascial Release Approach®, John Barnes, PT, LMT, NCTMB (a therapist and teacher of the highest caliber) and has been an assistant instructor in his seminars.