- Diseases, Disorders & Conditions
Frozen Shoulder Again
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Frozen shoulder again? Can you believe it? This is the third time I've gotten this condition. So you'd think that by now, I'd have learned something about how the condition develops, as well as what to do and what not to do to address the condition.
You'd be right. I have. As a matter of fact, last Thursday morning; I was sitting in a bible study group. During prayer requests I was saying how I was happy, and praising God for this issue in my tissues, because it allows me the opportunity to help someone else.
I stated that I knew that my pain was not just for me alone and that I was grateful that I could help someone else as a result of what I learned from the pain. I believe this is why I've lived with pain in my body for so long; and why have always had a natural affinity towards natural health and healing. I knew years ago that I had a gift to heal.
This is also the reason why as a massage therapist, I'm not your average spa therapist. I knew while in school, that if I worked for anyone outside of myself, privately; it would have to be a chiropractor...and I did, but now I work in a better place...a therapeutic spa.
However, while I was sitting in the church thanking God for the condition and the pain, little did I know that I was really only in the dawn of the situation. I was hurting a lot of then, but I had no idea how much I was going to hurt later.
While at work on that Wednesday I had asked the chiropractor to adjust me because of the problem developing in my shoulder and the muscles in my arm. Apparently I failed to tell him which side I was having a problem with. He used the pro adjuster to adjust my vertebrae, and found a large adhesion in my right shoulder blade, which he focused on. I was wondering why he was focusing more on the right side than the left, seeing as how the problem was on the left side; but he had indeed found an area that was problematic and quite painful.
As a massage therapist, I also know that you could have a problem on one part of your body, or on one side; for instance posterior pain between shoulder blades; and that problem can actually stem from a situation on the anterior side of your body in the pectoral muscles. So I figured at the time, that this was why he was treating the right side instead of the left. I didn't find out until later, that I had not told him it was the left side.
Additionally, he treated me for a problem in my collarbone on the left side. My collarbone on this side has always been very sensitive. This sensitivity is due to an accident I had in 1997, in which my collarbone struck the steering column in the car. At the time, I had it xrayed and the doctors claimed there was no fracture. But, I always suspected a hairline fracture because I always had pain there.
I knew there was a problem there; because ever since that accident, anytime I was touched in that area I was in horrendous pain. I have been living with that pain for years. When my now 16 year old son was a toddler; every time we would be playing, and he would touch me, or lean on me in that area I would almost scream from the pain.
I told this to the chiropractor, who stated that the problem was structural, and while adjusting me, he treated me for that problem. Little did either of us know at the time, that the pain I was asking him to treat me for was a developing frozen shoulder problem. I went home Wednesday evening, still feeling pain in my shoulder and forgetting the lessons I learned from the last time I had this problem.
Long Term Abuse
I'm not sure if I mentioned it in the last article I wrote on this topic. However, the last time I had this problem I made the mistake of applying heat to the area, which at the time was warming and felt very good. I figured I had some muscle spasms, and usually when muscle spasm happens, heat will reduce the problem.
This is one of the reasons why massage works so well to treat muscles. In massage, there is a warming technique that can be done to warm up the muscles, and bring the blood flow up to the surface, thereby relaxing the muscles. Over-contracted muscles are knotted up because of lack of blood flow or circulation, due stress and lack of sufficient activity. You may be an active person, but your stress level maybe higher than your level of activity.
Thus over time, your muscles are going to contract more and more restricting your movement, until you are forced from the pain to seek a massage therapist like me; whose focus is more neuromuscular and trigger point therapy, and whose purpose is to release pain. So had my problem been simple muscle spasm heat would have been the correct thing to use. However my physical problems stem from long term abuse.
My somewhat self-inflicted pain was not because of a lack of awareness of the problem. You can't be unaware of pain. However you can ignore it. I think there are 3 main reasons why people ignore pain. Probably the most predominant one would be fear. Fear is a very strong emotion and a harsh whipping master. It is used often in media by politicians to control the masses. 911 is proof of this.
The second reason is time. People are so busy these days, and so stressed with not having enough time to do what they need to do; that they try to power on through the pain. They ignore the electrical signals from the nervous system that should not be ignored. They do this because of the last reason - money. People run after money thinking that it is the key to wealth and happiness. But in reality, the key to wealth is health. Health and vitality will bring happiness because it allows you to be able to enjoy life.
However, for many people the issue is with money - because they don't have any. They don't have health insurance and therefore can't afford to address the problems that their body is telling them are developing. This has been my problem too. My problem has been from the last 2 of those 3 problems. Fear wasn't an issue for me, because I have long been studying the body and natural healing so I was aware of what was going on.
However, I was not going to go to the standard western medical doctor and have him medicate me to death with prescriptions to mask my symptoms. I knew I needed a chiropractor and an acupuncturist, and I knew I needed a lot more massage. But for years, I could not afford to get the treatment I knew that I needed. And when you compile stress upon stress upon stress, and then add lack of activity and lack of proper exercise; you end up with a chronic problem that cannot be fixed in a day, or even in just a few visits to the practitioners I mentioned above.
There is one other cause of this sort of condition that I forgot to mention. That problem would be repetitive motion. Many people suffer from repetitive motion injuries or RMI.
In my opinion repetitive motion is the main culprit behind frozen shoulder problems. When you have a repetitive motion situation developing in your muscles; and you add to that stress, lack of rest, and lack of proper activity; over time, the result is an over-stressed, over-contracted group of muscles and tendons that can no longer function.
That actually sounds like an equation that looks like this:
RMI + stress + lack of rest + lack of exercise
___________________________________ = Frozen Shoulder Syndrome
When the problem becomes chronic to the point of frozen shoulder developing, usually there is a subluxation in the vertebrae somewhere, which will require chiropractic treatment. Most often, the subluxation will be in the neck and/or cervical area.
This subluxation can result in either nerve or muscle impingement. Therefore, the muscles that would be involved in frozen shoulder, would be the trapezius, the deltoids, the biceps and triceps; and sometimes the pain can even go all the way down to the hand, affecting the muscles of the forearm and the wrist as well.
However, let me say that the tendons are the main culprits - particularly those of the deltoid muscles. The problem is stemming from the tendons and where they are connecting in the shoulder. That is the area where the pain you feel is shooting from. A subluxation in the neck only exacerbates the problem.
In the next article, I'm gonna talk about this tendon issue a little bit more. I'll be a little more specific about it and talk about some ways you could exacerbate the problem if you're not careful, as well as ways you can heal from this condition.