Understanding the True Origins of Frozen Shoulder Pain
Frozen shoulder is a stressful experience for anyone. The term itself is only descriptive, and not a diagnosis as most people assume. The “frozen” aspect refers to an extreme limitation of pain-free movement, but this is in general not due to capsular adhesions, rather to trigger points in muscles. Mainstream medicine fails to provide any reasonable explanation of why this condition develops. Severe pain combined with dis-empowerment, and a lack of understanding is a formula for stress.
The common worldview assumes that shoulder pain, and pain in general, originates in a tear or some other kind of injury that needs to be repaired. My own work has shown me this generally is untrue - I can help shoulder clients get out of pain very quickly, and they can learn to take control of their own health.
I see worsening shoulder pain and frozen shoulder as way stations along a route of progressive adaptation to painful movement, which generally begins with the development of some active trigger points. Trigger points develop very easily with chronic or acute overload, can produce severe pain symptoms, and have nothing necessarily to do with soft tissue damage or injury. Sometimes trigger points may set in during the acute phase of an injury because of stress on the muscles. Long after the injury has healed, the trigger points remain.
A good example of this is fraying of the supraspinatus tendon,
also known as a rotator cuff tear. Repairing the tear, which may have
little or no contribution to the pain experienced, fails to address
either the pain or the original cause of the tear (assuming there wasn’t
a specific event such as an accident). Trigger points
and taut fibers in the supraspinatus muscle belly cause pain in the
lateral shoulder, causing it to bunch up, shortening and pulling the
head of the humerus into the glenoid fossa. This reduces joint space
underneath the acromion, which then mechanically rubs on the vulnerable
supraspinatus tendon. The pain and trigger points remain long after the
healing of the tendon.
Whatever the initial cause of
shoulder pain, I see frozen shoulder as a process of adaptation, a
seemingly sensible response of the nervous system to protect the
shoulder from further “injury”. This is borne out in repeatedly in
practice when we unravel the system of adaptations and the pain goes
Make Shoulder Pain A Memory.
pain is not very difficult once you understand where it comes from.
Unfortunately, the medical system and nearly all alternative
practitioners are uninformed about the true origins of pain. Using our
system, you can take control of your own pain.
enough, pain is a mystery to the medical profession. Our medical system
is still in the middle ages in terms of understanding pain, which is why
we have over 65,000 people a year dying of opiate overdose in the US.
a high percentage of addicts begin with a prescribed opiate, and much
of it is unnecessary. Pain is assumed by the medical establishment to
always be a product of injury or disease, but this is just plain wrong.
am a trigger point therapist, and it has been demonstrated in repeated
studies as well as my own 7 years of clinical experience, the vast
majority of pain is from muscles that have developed trigger points.
Trigger Points: Extremely Common and Easily addressed
points, which are responsible for most pain, are small areas of
stagnation in muscle tissue that develop in response to chronic or acute
stresses on muscles. They aren’t injuries, but they
commonly send pain to other areas (pain referral) in a way that can feel
very much like an injury. This fools everyone – doctors, PTs, most
While the pain can be severe, trigger
points are fairly easy to correct. And much of it can be done as part of
a self-care approach. The techniques aren't difficult – what's
important is knowing what muscles to treat and in what order.
An Example: Front of Shoulder Pain
you go to your doctor with pain in the front of your shoulder, they are
very likely to tell you that you have an “itis”... bursitis, arthritis,
tendonitis, something torn, some type of inflammatory disease state or
injury. Somehow, your body just broke.
It seems obvious
and tempting to blame the problem on the structures underlying the pain –
however, this is almost never the true cause.
the most part comes from muscles. A single muscle in the back of your
shoulder accounts for the majority of the pain in the front of the
shoulder. It’s confusing until you have seen it over and over, in
hundreds of people – as we have. That muscle is the
infraspinatus. It can easily become overloaded because functions to
stabilize your arm in the shoulder joint any time you move it. Like
many muscles, the Infra is relatively easy to treat. You can apply
compression, tapping, ESWT or vibration using a ball or other tool to
tender areas on the back of your shoulder, and do specific kinds of
movements that will help that muscle shorten and stretch.
muscles are relatively easy to treat. It’s very rarely
about a single muscle. It takes a village. In the shoulder, muscles are
required to work together in a complex way because it’s a delicately
orchestrated joint with a lot of mobility.
understand these relationships and can treat you quickly and
effectively. We begin with the most important aspect of correcting
shoulder pain, treating the muscles that cause faulty shoulder posture.
if you are in severe pain, we will start your body on a path to
recovery and significant relief through understanding and treating your
muscles and teaching you self care techniques. We will help you
understand “why you have this condition now”, when others do not.