Scottsdale Acupuncture


Can Acupuncture Treat Frozen Shoulder?

Posted Thursday, July 23rd, 2020 by

Can Acupuncture Treat Frozen Shoulder?

The pain caused by a shoulder injury can be intense and may end up reducing your mobility. This can significantly impact your daily life by making it difficult for you to perform routine daily tasks. Though several conditions can cause shoulder pain, one of the most common is frozen shoulder. Typically, this affects between two and five percent of people aged between 40 and 60. It tends to affect more women than men.

People who have a frozen shoulder often experience much pain. Still, some are reluctant to visit a doctor, fearing that they’ll be prescribed highly addictive pain-reduction pills. Thankfully, there’s a natural alternative: acupuncture.

Let’s take a closer look at what frozen shoulder is and how acupuncture can help treat it.

What Is Frozen Shoulder?

Frozen shoulder is stiffness that occurs around your shoulder. It can make it painful to move your arm, limit your mobility, and interfere with your life. The reason it’s called a frozen shoulder is because of the three stages of this condition. First, you have the freezing phase, which is the gradual development of pain in your shoulder. During this stage, your range of motion will become more limited. Next comes the frozen stage, when you may notice the pain has started to ease. However, your range of motion will remain limited, as though your shoulder is frozen in place. Finally, you’ll have the thawing phase. The pain will begin to diminish, and you’ll be able to move your shoulder freely again.

In most cases, frozen shoulder can be diagnosed by its symptoms and physical description. As a result, you won’t need any MRIs or X-rays. But your acupuncturist might still want to run a few tests to confirm their diagnosis.

Frozen shoulder affects everyone differently. However, it commonly has a few consequences. For example, some people may find it reduces their performance at work, mainly if they’re in a physically demanding role. Other people may find the pain is worst at night, making it harder for them to get to sleep.

No one knows exactly what causes frozen shoulder. However, a few things might increase your chances of developing it. First, it tends to be most common among people with diabetes. It’s also more likely to occur if you’ve had your arm in the same position for a long time – for example, if you needed to wear a sling while recovering from a broken arm. One of the best ways to prevent frozen shoulder is by exercising your shoulders regularly to maintain a reasonable range of motion in the joint.

Using Acupuncture to Treat Frozen Shoulder

As we mentioned, frozen shoulder will typically go away on its own. However, it can take up to three years for you to recover. For many people, this will be too long, especially if the pain or lack of motion is making you uncomfortable and impacting on your life. Thankfully, acupuncture can be an effective treatment.

Acupuncture is based on the idea that, when a condition is treated, the mind and body can’t be separated. As a result, an acupuncturist will use needles on specific pressure points. This procedure clears your body’s energy pathways (referred to by practitioners as “unblocking your qi”). This brings the body back into balance and can help relieve pain and muscle stiffness.

Some studies have investigated whether acupuncture can improve range of motion in the shoulder. For many, the stiffness is one of the worst parts of having frozen shoulder. A study at the University of Medical Scientists in Iran looked at a group of 40 people of various ages who suffered from frozen shoulder. They found that the group who received acupuncture treatments achieved the best results. Most importantly, these patients had improved range of motion after their session and felt less shoulder pain.

There are a few explanations for these results. First, it’s been shown that acupuncture can stimulate nerves in muscles and tissues. This process releases endorphins in your brain, which act as a natural painkiller. Acupuncture can also be a great way to reduce inflammation in your shoulder and enhance blood circulation in the area. Because of this, the range of motion in your shoulder will slowly begin to improve.

Your acupuncturist will tailor the treatment to suit your needs and deliver the best results. However, this could involve focusing on the “yanglingquan” point, which is located in your leg. They also might use a deep-insertion needle on the side of the affected shoulder. This point is useful since it passes through the meridian of the “jianjing,” which is associated with tension in the neck and shoulders. How long your acupuncture session will last and the type of needles used will depend on your unique circumstances.


Frozen shoulder can be deeply unpleasant, as it dramatically reduces the range of motion in your shoulder. It can have a great impact on your daily life and make it harder for you to do your job or the activities you love. But it doesn’t have to be this way. As we’ve seen, there’s compelling evidence that shows acupuncture can be a natural solution to frozen shoulder. It can both ease the pain and anxiety caused by the condition and improve the range of motion in your shoulder. The results prove that acupuncture can be an excellent risk-free treatment.

Get in touch with us today to experience the benefits that acupuncture can offer you!

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