16 Mar 2016

Thawing shoulders

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As spring thaws its way through the cold and clouds anyone with a frozen shoulder dreams of the thawing of that very important joint in the body. One patient reported a novel method on December 31st when she was persuaded to join in Auld Lang Syne and a kilted Scotsman seized her by the hand and “thrust my arm right up in the air, shouting “Och aye the noo!” The following morning her previously painful and immobile shoulder felt much freer and improved over the next few weeks until full range of movement returned. Alan Nevies and his colleagues at northlondonosteopaths would not argue with her experience although our approach is somewhat different.

Other sufferers have found that placing the hand of his/her frozen arm behind the neck and gradually pushing the elbow of the affected arm upwards with the good arm-about an inch a day-but only to the point where it becomes notably uncomfortable. This works to free the restricted joint and improve mobility.

A relatively new method pioneered by an osteopath involves applying deep massage to a sequence of pressure points in the muscles around the joints.

We would recommend that patients try to use the shoulder as much as pain allows with pendulum like swings to help release the adhesions causing the stiffness. Use of hot and cold compresses together with local analgesia are recommended to temper the symptoms.

This is an uncomfortable condition and patients are as delighted when they are cured as they are to greet the bright fresh beautiful air of spring.