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Within Traditional Chinese Medicine, the frozen shoulder is also known as the “50 year old shoulder” as many patients tend to develop symptoms of this ailment in their middle age, around 50 years of age. However, it is possible to experience frozen shoulder at a young age too due to one’s lifestyle, work habits, and exercise habits. Deficiency of Qi due to stress and overworking may also affect blood flow in the shoulder region, causing frozen shoulder.

Frozen shoulder symptoms include pain or stiffness in the shoulder joint and limited range of movement. As the condition worsens, the level of pain may increase or become a persistent and chronic pain. Frozen shoulder pain usually flares up when the shoulder joint is used and can affect daily activities, such as reaching for items on a shelf. The pain can also occur at night, disrupting regular sleep cycles and habits.

TCM pain relief treatment for frozen shoulder pain varies as it depends on the individual causes and factors leading to the condition. Our physicians here at Sin Kang TCM have over 20 years of experience, and are able to diagnose and recommend relevant treatments at our clinics in Singapore to meet your pain relief needs. Acupuncture, Tui Na massage, cupping, moxibustion, herbal medicine, and other remedies may be combined for a comprehensive and effective treatment plan.

What is a frozen shoulder?

The shoulder joint comprises a ball (the humeral head) and a socket (the glenoid). It’s one of the body’s most mobile joints; therefore the capsules or tissues around the shoulder joint are prone to inflammation from pain or overuse, leading to adhesive capsulitis, also known as frozen shoulder. Instances of pain, discomfort, or stiffness when moving your shoulder are some of the most common frozen shoulder symptoms.

As for what causes frozen shoulder pain, it is important to remember that there are many possible factors that could affect it. However, it tends to happen when the shoulder capsule becomes thick and inflamed around the shoulder joint. Scar tissues then develop, leading to the gradual restriction or loss of shoulder joint movements. Frozen shoulder in TCM is called “shoulder at the age of 50 years old” as middle aged people are most likely to get it, but it can happen to younger individuals too. You are also at risk of developing frozen shoulder symptoms if you have undergone medical procedures involving the shoulder or upper torso such as a mastectomy, or if you have experienced conditions like a stroke that has resulted in damage to your shoulders and arms.

If you are experiencing a frozen shoulder, it can significantly affect how you perform your everyday routine. Simple daily tasks such as bathing, dressing up, and even working can become complicated since a frozen shoulder restricts your ability to move.

Symptoms of frozen shoulders

Frozen shoulder symptoms are divided into three stages: freezing, frozen, and thawing.

During the freezing stage, your shoulder capsule begins to thicken or “freeze.” You will experience sharp pain when you move your shoulders and your shoulder movements gradually become limited. The freezing stage typically lasts 6 to 9 weeks.

Frozen shoulder symptoms during the subsequent frozen stage involve diminishing pain and won’t be as excruciating as the freezing stage; however, your shoulder movements become more rigid, and performing your daily activities becomes more difficult. This stage typically lasts for 4 to 6 weeks.

For some, their shoulders will naturally enter a thawing stage of improvement. During the thawing stage, your movements start to improve. You won’t feel any pain, and your shoulder movements will begin to improve. This stage can continue for six months to two years with the help of exercises, medical treatments, and TCM for shoulder pain. For others, initial intervention may be needed to progress to the thawing stage.

Sadly, little is known about the clear reason or cause of frozen shoulder as information about this condition is minimal. However, getting the right TCM treatment for your shoulder pain can help alleviate any discomfort on your shoulder.

Why should you try TCM as a non-surgical solution for shoulder pain?

You can try TCM treatments if you’re looking for affordable methods to treat chronic shoulder pain. These non-surgical and pain-free solutions provide shoulder pain relief without needing to undergo any major surgery or medical procedure.

Through TCM treatments for shoulder pain, your body can naturally heal itself as the methods we use trigger acupoints that aid in releasing serotonin and endorphins. Both hormones are essential in managing pain and healing the body, as serotonin plays a significant role in wound healing and bone health. At the same time, endorphins are vital to helping the body regulate pain.

Frozen shoulder pain management techniques also aid in decreasing the stiffness of your shoulder. Our methods promote local microcirculation, enhancing blood flow towards the pain region. Improved blood circulation helps enhance the delivery of nutrients to your shoulder necessary for recovery and rejuvenation.

How does Sin Kang TCM diagnose and treat frozen shoulders symptoms?

Before you consult with our shoulder specialist, we will require you to register and provide us with your personal information and medical history, if needed. Our TCM practitioner will then assess your condition by reviewing all the information you’ve provided including your symptoms. Once our specialists complete your assessment, they will make a final diagnosis and recommend the proper treatment for your frozen shoulder pain.

TCM pain relief treatments for frozen shoulder pain may be one or a combination of the following:

Tui Na for shoulder pain relief

Tui Na is an ancient massage form that balances the body’s energy. It’s a TCM treatment for shoulder pain involving acupressure massage techniques such as stretching, pressing, kneading, and rolling and TCM principles to loosen up and remove Qi blockages in your shoulder. It stimulates the body’s pressure points using the fingers to promote better blood flow and circulation. It’s an effective technique for shoulder pain relief as it can help the body heal itself naturally. Tui Na massage is often combined with acupuncture for a more effective way to encourage proper Qi and blood flow to treat frozen shoulder.

TCM Acupuncture for shoulder pain

Sing Kang TCM’s signature pain-free acupuncture is also used for treating frozen shoulders, and works to restore normal blood flow by stimulating blood circulation in the body, releasing ‘pain killer’ hormones to clear Qi blockages and provide frozen shoulder pain relief. The sight of needles may be intimidating for some; however, with our TCM acupuncture treatment for shoulder pain, you don’t have to worry about feeling any discomfort. Our TCM practitioner will access your body’s acupoints to clear any Qi blockages and restore your blood flow. As a result, your body will release pain-killing hormones and provide shoulder pain relief. Acupuncture and Tui Na are often used together as pain management treatments for shoulder pain.

Frozen shoulder cupping treatment

Cupping treatments use special cups to aid in restoring the flow of your Qi by creating a vacuum that improves blood circulation. This stimulates blood flow and restores balanced Qi flow in a targeted part of the body, making it a suitable shoulder pain relief treatment caused by long-term injuries or prolonged exposure to coldness. This treatment helps detoxify your body’s immune system, relax your muscles, and break down any muscle fibre and fascia adhesions. With frequent and follow-up treatments, you’ll regain mobility in your shoulders and feel shoulder pain relief.

TCM Moxibustion for shoulder pain

Moxibustion is a TCM technique for shoulder pain involving burning “moxa” (made from mugwort or wormwood), to warm the meridians in the body. Mugworts are dried, ground into cones or sticks, and lighted to be used in warming the body to relieve it from any pain and remove any pathogenic elements. This stimulates stagnated Qi flow and rids the body of excess cold and dampness, providing pain relief for frozen shoulders caused by these factors. Moxibustion is often used to complement acupuncture in treating frozen shoulder and provide shoulder pain relief.

Our frozen shoulder TCM specialists in Singapore

FAQs about TCM for shoulder pain

What are the benefits of our TCM frozen shoulder pain relief treatment?

TCM treatments for frozen shoulder pain help reduce inflammation in the affected area by improving the blood flow and circulation. Frozen shoulder treatments are also helpful in providing shoulder pain relief by healing the body as a whole. In addition to pain relief, TCM can also help reduce shoulder stiffness, allowing you to regain control of your mobility.

Should I get TCM treatments for shoulder pain?

You can try TCM treatments for shoulder pain if you’re experiencing frozen shoulder pain and have not been able to achieve pain relief with conventional Western medical treatments. We recommend seeking medical advice from your physician before getting TCM treatments if you are pregnant, lactating, elderly, or have an existing injury or condition such as dislocationor a fracture.

Why choose Sin Kang TCM for shoulder pain relief?

Sin Kang TCM has been providing frozen shoulder treatments and other TCM therapies in Singapore for over 20 years. TCM treatments are different from any other type of shoulder treatment because we effectively target the root of the problem, which could be the Wind, Cold or Dampness pathogens that have entered your body and are preventing the circulation of blood. Through our treatments, we can provide non-invasive yet effective solutions for long-term frozen shoulder pain relief. Our team consists of the best & experienced shoulder specialists, physicians, and therapists in Singapore that provide TCM treatments for shoulder pain to help renew your overall well-being.