Frozen Shoulder: New Research

FrozenShoulder_SMFrozen shoulder, also known as adhesive capsulitis, is a condition of the shoulder joint.  Symptoms are typically stiffness and pain in the joint that gradually worsen over time.  The condition usually resolves within 2 years. Certain medical conditions can increase your risk of frozen shoulder- these include diabetes, Parkinson’s, TB, thyroid issues, and cardiovascular disease.

Mayo Clinic suggests that frozen shoulder develops in three stages:

  • Painful stage. During this stage, pain occurs with any movement of your shoulder, and your shoulder’s range of motion starts to become limited.
  • Frozen stage. Pain may begin to diminish during this stage. However, your shoulder becomes stiffer, and your range of motion decreases notably.
  • Thawing stage. During the thawing stage, the range of motion in your shoulder begins to improve.

Acupuncture Can Help:  New research concludes that acupuncture can reduce frozen shoulder pain and range of motion (Mo et al., 2013)

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the efficacy of abdominal acupuncture for adhesion-stage shoulder periarthritis.

METHODS: One hundred and fifty-seven cases of shoulder periarthritis were randomly divided into an abdominal acupuncture group (79 cases) and a body acupuncture group (78 cases). The abdominal acupuncture was applied at Zhongwan (CV 12), Shangqu (KI 17) and Huaroumen (ST 24) in the abdominal acupuncture group while conventional acupuncture was applied at Jianyu (LI 15), Jianliao (TE 14) and Jianzhen (SI 9) in the body acupuncture group. The treatment was given three times a week for both groups and ten times made an observation course. Before and after treatment, visual analogue scale (VAS) was adopted for pain assessment and functional activity score (Mallet score) was used for shoulder joint function assessment for all the patients. Also the efficacy of both groups was compared.

RESULTS: The total effective rate in the abdominal acupuncture group was 92.4% (73/79), which was superior to 71.8% (56/78) in the body acupuncture group. The score of VAS after the treatment was 2.58 +/- 1.64 in the abdominal acupuncture group while 3.12 +/- 1.93 in the body acupuncture group, which had no statistical significance between each other (P > 0.05). The functional activity score after the treatment was 8.34 +/- 3.02 in the abdominal acupuncture group while 7.49 +/- 3.36 in the body acupuncture group, which had no statistical significance between each other (P > 0.05).

CONCLUSION: The abdominal acupuncture is an ideal treatment for adhesion-stage shoulder periarthritis, which has better total efficacy than conventional acupuncture. It achieves the same effect in relieving pain and improving functional activity as conventional acupuncture, but also has an advantage at fast selection of acupoint and less discomfort of needling sensation.”
References:
Mo, X. F., L. H. Xuan, Y. B. Jin, X. H. Cheng, and B. Y. Yu. “[Efficacy observation on abdominal acupuncture for adhesion-stage shoulder periarthritis].” Zhongguo zhen jiu= Chinese acupuncture & moxibustion 33, no. 9 (2013): 847-849. Department of Acupuncture and Moxibustion, Zhejiang Hospital of TCM, Hangzhou, China.

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