Acupuncture for Frozen Shoulder


Those of us with active lives know how sensitive our muscles and joints can be – and while we may not think about our shoulders a lot, they can fall prey to excruciating pain and discomfort. Frozen shoulder, for example, is a common ailment that causes painful stiffening in the joint – largely preventing ease of movement in your arm. If this sounds familiar – have you considered booking acupuncture for a frozen shoulder?

Many people treat frozen shoulders with direct heat or cold and courses of pain medication to mask ongoing aches. These treatments may help dull discomfort and aid mobility, but long-term, direct therapy is more highly recommended.

Frozen shoulders can occur as a result of injury, surgery complication, or even as a result of diabetes. It’s also most prevalent in people over 40- and can worsen over time. No matter how it arises, you must seek help for immediate pain relief – as well as mobility support.

Is acupuncture for frozen shoulders a good idea?

Acupuncture for frozen shoulder is highly recommended thanks to its anti-inflammatory benefits. While there is much disagreement over exactly how frozen shoulder arises – and what an actual definition of the condition is – inflammation around the joint is highly common. By targeting motor points that affect your frozen or freezing shoulder, acupuncture needles can redirect blood and oxygen towards inflamed tissue, relieving it of tension and pain.

Needles directing increased blood flow towards your frozen shoulder will also help to improve flexibility. Acupuncture can help to improve circulation in local pain points, creating wider channels for nutrient and oxygen dispersal where you need it the most. Once your shoulder feels less tense, and pain levels diminish, you can expect to move your arm a little more freely. 

Through acupuncture targeting, your affected shoulder – and brain – can react differently to typical pain signals. Studies indicate that needle targeting can help to ‘rewire’ how your brain reacts to points of discomfort. For example, effective acupuncture treatment can target your nervous system to release hormones such as endorphins, which help our bodies regulate pain.

Regardless of how you develop a frozen shoulder, acupuncture can provide instant relief after just one session. It’s important to book regular sessions after your initial consultation to ensure your muscles continue to receive enhanced blood flow and nutrients. The length of your acupuncture course will depend on the nature of your injury – for example, the severity of pain, and the extent to which you can move your arm.

Frozen shoulder acupuncture – what you should expect

Acupuncture is warming and gentle – and is never painful or intrusive! In treating frozen shoulders at our clinic, we may ask you to lay on your back so that you are comfortable – and so we can pinpoint areas for needling in your arms and shoulders.

We use sterile and disposable needles to carefully target muscles and points around your upper arms and down towards your wrists. We may also target your wider body to help promote clearer blood and oxygen flow towards your frozen shoulder. In some cases, we may recommend dry needling, an alternative to acupuncture that allows us to target trigger points in your upper arms.

These trigger points may feel tight or sore – and through careful needling, we can help to release tension to allow for ease of circulation. We may target your biceps and/or triceps during this treatment, meaning you may need to rest face down for part of your session.

By targeting motor and trigger points with acupuncture, we can gradually, and naturally, soften your muscles to allow for greater ease of blood flow. After your initial session, you’ll get the chance to discuss how you feel, and what you can expect from treatments in the future.

Crucially, we aim to provide you with pain relief and renewed flexibility in your joints as soon as physically possible. That’s why it is so important to book regular sessions with our clinic for long-lasting respite!

When should I book acupuncture for frozen shoulder?

You should book acupuncture for frozen shoulder the moment you notice severe pain or discomfort restricting the way you move your joint – even leading down towards your arm. The ‘shoulder freezing’ stage can last for several months at a time and can often worsen if left untreated. For example, you may start to notice exceptional pain or discomfort while trying to sleep.

It’s crucial to remember that even if the pain of a frozen shoulder goes away, stiffness and immobility can remain, even for up to a year after the initial onset of symptoms. While this pain and immobility can go away on their own, it could take up to two years for you to fully recover. That’s a huge part of your life spent in agony, or unable to move as freely as you’d like. Whether you’re highly active or not, you shouldn’t have to live with the inconvenience.

In some cases, people develop two frozen shoulders at once – which could mean double your pain and inconvenience in the long run. If pain or stiffness in your shoulders and arms is worsening, it’s time to consult a doctor – and to consider acupuncture as a viable avenue for treatment.

Time to book your first visit

Booking acupuncture for frozen shoulder pain can seem scary initially – yet, millions of people benefit from regular treatment for stiffness and chronic pain. For many, it’s a viable alternative to invasive surgery and ineffective pain medication. In addition, regular acupuncture and/or dry needling could help you to regain flexibility and function in your arm(s) quicker than through simple medication and heat treatments alone. Can you really afford to lose up to two years of mobility?
Lycoming Orthopedic & Sports Acupuncture provides pain management, sports therapy, and function restoration treatments across PA. If you’d like to know more about freeing up your frozen shoulder without the need for invasive medicine, call our clinic now or book online. Take action the moment pain or stiffness starts to slow you down!

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