Frozen shoulder (also called adhesive capsulitis) is a debilitating condition that can make it completely impossible to raise the affected arm. In frozen shoulder, the connective tissue in the shoulder capsule connecting your humerus to your scapula becomes inflamed and begins to form scar tissue. The scar tissue adheres to itself, which is why the medical term for frozen shoulder is adhesive capsulitis. The adhesions in the shoulder capsule block your arm from going through its full range of movement, severely limiting your ability to use that arm for daily tasks.
The highly debilitating nature of frozen shoulder causes many people who suffer from it to seek immediate relief. Unfortunately, treatment options for frozen shoulder are limited—in many cases, there's no choice but to wait until the shoulder capsule heals on its own and you regain full range of motion in your shoulder joint.
However, there are a few ways you can help alleviate your frozen shoulder pain and increase your range of motion while you wait for your shoulder capsule to heal. One of these ways is massage therapy. It's a safe way to increase blood flow to your shoulder capsule and aid in the healing process. If you're interested in helping to relieve your frozen shoulder pain through massage therapy, read on for more information about how it can help you.
How Can Massage Therapy Help Your Frozen Shoulder?
One of the most important things you can do to improve your frozen shoulder and maintain its range of motion is to use it as often as possible. However, the severe pain experienced by people who are suffering from a frozen shoulder often prevents this.
Massage therapy can reduce the amount of pain you feel in your shoulder by gently stretching the muscles in your arm and in your back, which helps to eliminate muscle tightness and can make your shoulder joint more limber. Your massage therapist may also decide to use heat therapy on your frozen shoulder, which helps increase blood flow to your shoulder joint and speeds up the healing process. With reduced pain and increased range of motion, you'll have an easier time performing gentle shoulder exercises.
What Type of Massage Is Best for a Frozen Shoulder?
Deep tissue massage is often recommended for frozen shoulder pain. A massage therapist uses his or her wrists, forearms, and elbows to transmit a considerable amount of pressure to your fascia and muscles, which helps to stretch them out and relax them. The high amount of force used during this type of therapy also helps to break up small bits of scar tissue within your body, which can aid in the healing process.
Will Massaging a Frozen Shoulder Hurt?
Even deep tissue massage should never hurt, although you may be sore afterward. Make sure you communicate with your massage therapist during the process and tell him or her if you are experiencing pain. Pain during therapy is counterproductive when you're trying to relax your muscles and reduce frozen shoulder pain—pain causes you to instinctively tense your muscles in order to draw away from the source of the pain, which will cause them to become even stiffer.
If you're suffering from frozen shoulder pain and are seeking relief, schedule an appointment with a massage therapist. Overall, integrating a routine of relaxing massage into your frozen shoulder care plan can help you to reduce pain and extend the range of motion in your shoulder joint, increasing your ability to use your arm and reducing the effect that your frozen shoulder has on your quality of life.