frozen shoulder

Frozen Shoulder and Massage Therapy

Frozen Shoulder: Something you never knew existed (until it happened to you).

So- your shoulder is frozen, huh? This condition of Frozen Shoulder (AKA Adhesive Capsulitis) occurs when there is a presence or development of excess scar tissue and inflammation within the shoulder capsule. This can cause intense pain and incredibly inhibited movement. Onset is typically gradual, and it can happen in many scenarios, even in some like recovering from a rotator cuff repair, a mastectomy, suffering a stroke, or even from hormonal imbalances. No matter how you’ve gotten here, Massage Therapists are here to help.

Why it’s Time to Consider Massage

massage therapy

Folks, Massage Therapy is Evolving. Historically, Massage had been something you would seek out to relax and unwind, right? While that is a beneficial effect, throughout the years Massage has been highly developed into a powerful tool for injury recovery, prevention, and pain relief. Massage has been proven to increase blood flow, reduce inflammation, and loosen “angry” tissues. Specialized braches of bodywork such as Neuromuscular Therapy, Myofascial Release, and Active Release Therapy can directly influence change in deeply adhered muscular tissues as well as tendons, ligaments, fascia, and even periosteum. A knowledgeable and specialized Therapist may be able to help you make vast improvements in pain levels, range of motion, and overall sense of well-being as it relates to the dreaded issue of Frozen Shoulder!

What to Expect and Where to Start

Massage room at elliott therapeutics
Massage Room at Elliott Therapeutics

As you could imagine, going into a session for help with a condition like this can be a bit intimidating, to say the least. My suggestion? Find someone near you who practices advanced bodywork techniques such as NMT (Neuromuscular Therapy), Myofascial Release, Rehabilitative (or Clinical) Massage, or even Orthopedic Massage. Do a lil’ research- talk to the Therapist- and make an appointment if things seem like a good fit.

As a Massage and Neuromuscular Therapist myself, I like to create a customized treatment plan for every individual client and situation. This plan looks at several factors such as pain level, range of motion, duration, and other treatments that have been utilized, in order to create and deliver an effective and result-oriented means for relief.

What Your Care Might Look Like

Approach wise, your Therapist may contact structures from the neck to the shoulder girdle, all the way out to the upper portion of your arm (maybe even using balancing techniques by contacting both simultaneously). Working these structures effectively could help to calm the nervous system, helping the body to relax and embrace deeper muscular work. Depending on all the factors, I will typically put a heavy emphasis on scapular mobilization within the first session along with work to the chest, anterior neck, rotator cuff group, and upper portion of the arms- saving the ROM and like techniques for the second or third session.

Techniques like Trigger Point Therapy, passive/active range of motion, Gua Sha, or Cupping may also be used to complement and enhance the effects and results of the sessions. Expect to become familiar with your therapist, as treatments are typically spread throughout the course of several weeks (and maintenance sessions beyond that are good habit). By embracing Alternative Therapies- you are actively taking the reigns in your personal health and wellness journey. You have the power and ability to tailor your care with whatever works best for you whether it be Massage, Acupuncture, Cupping, Chiropractic, or even Corrective Exercise.

In Conclusion

Possible results of seeking Massage Therapy for Frozen Shoulder are as follows:

  • Reduced pain levels in the affected structure
  • Increased blood flow to the area, nourishing ischemic tissues
  • Gradually helps increase range of motion
  • Can break up adhesions and soften/unlock scar tissue
  • Increases lymphatic flow to help rid the body of metabolic waste

Thanks for Reading…

Please reach out with questions/comments/concerns as we always love to lend an ear! If you’d like to hear about a specific condition and how Massage or Acupuncture could help, please send us an email found on the contact page. Check out other posts below and talk soon.

Please note, that Complementary and Alternaitive Therapies are not a replacment for seeking traditional medical care.


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