Frozen shoulder is a condition where an individual will experience pain and stiffness in the shoulder and is not able to lift the arm over the head. Frozen shoulder causes stiffness and restricted range of movement in the shoulder. This condition is medically known as "adhesive capsulitis." However, adhesive capsulitis is a specific condition where there is a slow onset of stiffness and pain in one shoulder due to inflammation and tightening of the joint capsule. Usually the terms frozen shoulder and adhesive capsulitis are used alternately.
Massage treatments done regularly can help in alleviating the shoulder pain and loosening or relaxing the stiff shoulder muscles. Other treatments done for frozen shoulder also include heat therapy, home exercises, physical therapy, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) and steroid injections. Immediate treatment leads to faster recovery, however, it can take anywhere from 12 to 18 months to completely restore the shoulder range of motion. Usually conservative treatments are sufficient for relief from frozen shoulder, but in some cases surgery may be required in order release the contracted shoulder joint capsule.
Benefits of Massage for Frozen Shoulder
Massage therapy is very beneficial in treating frozen shoulder as it increases the blood circulation to the injured region and also reduces the formation of scar tissue. Regular massage should be done to reduce the muscle stiffness. The pain and stiffness usually gets relieved after several massage treatments.
Massage Techniques for Frozen Shoulder
There are various combinations of techniques done by a professional massage therapist, which provides relief from shoulder pain and helps in the "thawing" process or the recovery stage.
Deep Tissue Massage for Frozen Shoulder:
One of the common techniques used to treat frozen shoulder is deep-tissue massage. In this technique, the massage therapist applies constant pressure to the muscles in order to release the scar tissue or adhesions which may be causing the shoulder pain.
Shiatsu is a Japanese form of deep-tissue massage which involves deep pressure on certain regions of the body. These are called acupressure points and helps in controlling the energy flow ("Ki" in Japanese) across the body and thus results in decrease in pain. Deep-tissue massage techniques should not be done in case of acute shoulder pain, swelling or inflammation, as it may aggravate the condition.
Trigger Point Therapy for Frozen Shoulder:
Trigger point therapy is another massage technique which benefits the frozen shoulder. In this technique, steady pressure is applied on certain targeted points within the muscles. This helps in relieving the muscle spasms.
Swedish Massage for Frozen Shoulder:
Swedish massage does help with frozen shoulder. This involves long strokes and gentle kneading done to the surface muscle tissues to reduce tension and stress in the muscles.
Heat Therapy for Frozen Shoulder:
Heat therapy is also very helpful in treating the frozen shoulder. It can be applied before or after a massage. Heat therapy can be also done for trigger point massage for frozen shoulder. It helps in relaxing the muscles and decreasing pain. Mild heat can be applied for multiple times daily using pads which are heated an hour before application.