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  • Sim Chin Seng

Frozen Shoulders (Adhesive Capsulitis)

What is Adhesive Capsulitis (Frozen Shoulders)

The western medical term used for this condition is “Adhesive Capsulitis”, which in our common layman’s term is used to refer to the condition called “Frozen Shoulders”. Your Shoulders feels pain and stiffness and seem to be “frozen” in a certain position. It may take as much as a few years to completely get better, but it can improve much faster if you were to go to a correct Physical Therapist to help with your recovery.

Adhesive Capsulitis, also known as a Frozen Shoulder, is a painful and disabling disorder which to western medicine is of unclear cause in which the shoulder capsule, the connective tissue surrounding the Glenohumeral Joint of the shoulder, becomes inflamed and stiff, greatly restricting its Range of Motion and causing immense pain. The Pain is usually constant, worse at night, and with cold weather. Certain movements or bumps can provoke episodes of increased pain. People who have “Adhesive Capsulitis” usually experience pain and sleep deprivation for prolonged periods due to pain that gets worse when lying still and restricted movement. The condition can sometimes lead to Depression, problems in the neck and back, and weight loss due to long-term lack of deep sleep. People who have Adhesive Capsulitis may have difficulty concentrating, working, or performing simple daily life activities for extended periods of time. The condition tends to be self-limiting and may resolves slightly over time without surgery. Most people regain back some of their shoulder Range of Motion after a protracted period of time.

What Are Some of These Possible Causes (according to Western Medicine)?

Doctors up-to-date still do not really know exactly what causes the Shoulders to become “Frozen”, but they attribute that some things may make a person more susceptible to getting Frozen Shoulders. Some of these possible causes were attributed to:

(1) It can happen if you can’t move your shoulder very well because of an injury An Accident, Surgery or Trauma;

(2) People who perform repetitive actions day after day, such as those in the vocations like a Hairstylist, Musician, etc.

(3) People who have Diabetes, Arthritis, Gout, etc. becomes more susceptible to developing Frozen Shoulders.

(4) People with Thyroid Problems, Parkinson’s Disease, Heart Disease, which can worsen the symptoms and makes the Frozen Shoulders last even longer. Certain HIV medications also seem to raise your odds of getting Frozen Shoulders.

There are Strong Connective Tissues called the “Shoulder Capsule” that surrounds the ball end of your Upper Arm Bone and holds it to the socket. “Frozen Shoulder” causes this Connective Tissue to becomes thicker and “hardens” in parts (Adhesions) and becomes “inflamed”. This may then limit the “Synovial Fluid” that normally “Lubricates” the area and prevents rubbing to occur. The result is ‘Pain’ and ‘Stiffness’.

The THREE Stages of Adhesive Capsulitis (Frozen Shoulder)

There are a total of THREE Stages in the development of “Frozen Shoulders”:

Stage 1: Freezing (Painful) Stage

During Stage 1 of the “Frozen Shoulders” which develops over a period of 2 months to 12 months, the Shoulder Capsule starts to get more and more ‘inflamed’. This starts to ramps up the Pain and eventually the Stiffness as well. The Range of Motion slowly becomes more and more restrictive as the months passes (you start to get more and more difficult to use the Shoulder Joint). And these symptoms and pains often get worse at night when you try to sleep.

Stage 2: Frozen Stage

During Stage 2, your shoulder is at its stiffest and hardest to move. Your Range of Motion is completely restricted. It usually lasts somewhere between 4 months to a year. Pain often starts to decrease a little at this stage. But your Range of Motion may be so limited that you will find it hard to do even the most basic things. Rotation of the Shoulder Joint is particularly limited, making activities such as washing your hair, hooking a bra, or reaching for a seat belt, extremely painful or difficult.

Stage 3: Thawing Stage

When you enter Stage 3, your shoulder pain should continue to ease even more during this stage, and now you start to regain some of your Range of Motion bit by bit too. It happens very slowly, taking anything from 6 months up to 2 years. In some cases, you may never get back all of your strength and mobility without intervention by seeking proper Physical Therapy.

Who Are Those More Prone To Get “Frozen Shoulders”?

Frozen Shoulders are usually most common if you’re in your 50s or 60s, and it’s quite rare for anyone under the ages of 40 to get it in the past. But these days more and more younger patients are getting it as well due to the changing Lifestyle and Diet. Women (70% of “Frozen Shoulders” victims are usually women) tends to get it more than men. And if you get Frozen Shoulder on one side of your body, you’re up to 30% more likely to get it on the Other Side in the coming months or years.

How Do Doctor Diagnosed the Patients for “Frozen Shoulders”?

Your Physician will usually start off by asking about your Symptoms, Injuries, and Medical History. Then, he’ll then make a Physically Examination of your Shoulders and its surrounding Muscles and Nerves. He’ll then attempt to move your Shoulders himself to see where the Pain and Stiffness starts. This is to enable him to determine your “Passive Range of Motion”. Then he’ll ask you to move your Shoulders by yourself. That will enable him to determine your “Active Range of Motion”. At the Extreme Limit, it may feel like your arm is stuck and is unable to move any further. If you have a Frozen Shoulder, your Passive and Active Range of Motion will be very much less than the Normal.

If you consult a Medical Doctor, you may even be given an “Injection Test” to help narrow down the possible causes of your symptoms. The Medical Doctor may give you an injection in your Affected Arm which will then ‘dulls’ the pain in your Affected Shoulder. With most other Shoulder Problems, this will then give you a bigger Range of Motion, but it won’t change much if you have a “Frozen Shoulder”. Medical Doctors or Chiropractors may typically also use imaging tests like X-Rays, Ultrasounds, and MRIs to rule out other possible Shoulder Conditions. Some of these ‘extra’ and sometimes ‘unnecessary’ tests will only drive up the costs of your treatment and the end result may still not be able to resolve your Frozen Shoulder situation.

Physical Exercises and Therapy

Once your Frozen Shoulder pain begins to ease up, your Medical Doctor might prescribe some form of Physical Arm Exercises for you. A Physical Therapist may also give you some moves and exercises to do as homework to help ease the situation further. Take it easy at first. If you “push through the pain,” you could start to make things worse. You’ll likely have to start with a Range-of-Motion exercises for a couple of months. After you feel better, you can then safely begin on Strength Building Exercises.

Some of the Western Medicines Used to ‘Ease’ the Pain During the Various Stages of the Frozen Shoulders

Some of the western medicine and drugs used such as NSAIDs (Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs) like Aspirin, Ibuprofen, and Naproxen may curb some of the Pain and Swelling during the episode of Frozen Shoulders.

More powerful drugs called “Steroids” are sometimes injected directly into the Shoulder Joint. But it can be tricky to get them into just the right spot, and even these will only provide a “Temporary Relief” of your symptoms. This is not a Permanent Cure or Release of the Frozen Shoulder.

Hydrodilatation is a procedure where a fine needle is placed into the Shoulder Joint using Ultrasound or X-ray to guide the location, and an injection of Corticosteroid, local anaesthetic and sometimes sterile water is given to stretch the Shoulder Joint Capsule.

Your Medical Practitioner might suggest this method if all the Physical Therapy and Medications haven’t helped you. He’ll use pictures of the inside of your body to guide a shot of fluid into your Shoulder Joint directly. The goal is to stretch out the Shoulder Joint Capsule and give you a better Range of Motion. Again, this procedure may only offer “Temporary Relief” if the adhesion and scarring of the Muscles are too severely fused together.

Your Western Medical Practitioner might suggest this “Surgery”, usually in the “Frozen” Stage, if nothing else works then. There are TWO Methods, sometimes used together. The First is the Manipulation the Shoulder Joint while you’re “asleep” from General Anesthesia. This procedure is called “Manipulation Under Anesthesia (MUA)”. The Surgeon moves the Shoulder Joint until it “Stretches” or even “Tears” the tissue. The Second Method, which is called “Arthroscopy”(pronounced as “ahr-THROS-kuh-pee”), This is a procedure for diagnosing and treating Joint problems. A surgeon inserts a narrow tube attached to a fiber-optic video camera through a small incision — about the size of a buttonhole. The view inside your joint is transmitted to a high-definition video monitor. The Surgeon then cuts the Affected Tissue directly. The Surgeon works through small cuts in your skin, using this Special Tools.

“Recovery” According to The Western Medical Practitioners

“Frozen Shoulders” will get better for a lot of people within a year or more if they do constant Physical Therapy and use Pain Medicines and Steroid Shots (if needed) according to the Western Medical Practitioners. Even without those Methods, most people get better within a couple of years (usually 3 years or more). However, if you have Diabetes, it may be harder for you to recover in a shorter period of time. Surgery works pretty well as long as you stick with your Physical Therapy on a regular basis. After you have gain recovery, then you can rebuild and keep up your strength and mobility exercises.

How can we help you at FU KANG TCM WELLNESS ?

At the FU KANG TCM WELLNESS, our Consultant Therapist, Mr. SIM CHIN SENG who is one of the Best Specialist in this field in the treatment of “Frozen Shoulders” cases. He had treated Thousands of successful cases and has decades of practice and experience; with more than 90% of these patients having their Shoulder full Range of Motion completely restored in just one to two sessions of between 2 to 3 hours on each of these session.

Our Consultant Therapist uses a very special and unique treatment technique which he devises and pioneered to achieve virtually 100% success in all the cases that he had treated. The technique involved a completely non-invasive, virtually painless and without much discomfort to the patients. In fact, most of the patients could even sleep through the whole procedure and treatment. The treatment does not involve the use of any Acupuncture needles or any form of drugs or medication. It’s completely natural.

Call us to book an appointment with our Consultant Therapist today and get that “Frozen Shoulders” completely released within a week instead of having to suffering for the next 3 years or more. A short waiting period may be expected as only a limited number of cases can be treated on each day and there is always a queue and backlog of reservations.


Mr. SIM CHIN SENG is the Consultant Therapist in FU KANG TCM WELLNESS. He is an Accomplished Tuina Specialist with decades of practice and experience. He specialised in the treatment of “Frozen Shoulders” cases, Sciatica, Lumbar Back Pain and many other Musculoskeletal Disorders, Trigger Fingers and Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, etc.

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