Can dry needling help frozen shoulder? Yes! Dry needling can provide rapid improvement in frozen shoulder, also known as adhesive capsulitis. If you’re dealing with a frozen shoulder and other treatments have provided limited relief, dry needling may a good next step. Frozen shoulder can be frustrating to deal with, especially since it typically has a long recovery time and often has no obvious cause. Our AccessHealth chiropractors in Cary are familiar with diagnosing and treating this condition, so we’ll discuss: What is Frozen Shoulder? Can Dry Needling Help Frozen Shoulder? and How to Treat Frozen Shoulder (Besides Dry Needling)?
What is Frozen Shoulder?
Frozen shoulder, also known as adhesive capsulitis is a condition where your shoulder becomes stiff, painful, and you lose shoulder range of motion. It’s aptly named because your shoulder literally feels frozen in place. It’s a frustrating condition because it can take years to get over.
The fibrous cover around your shoulder joint is called the joint capsule. It’s made from a fibrous tissue called connective tissue. In frozen shoulder, this capsule of tissue thickens and keeps the shoulder from having it’s a normal range of motion. It’s a strange condition because it’s not always clear why this happens. We do know some of the risk factors and they are as follows:
- Over 40 years of age
- Heart disease
- Thyroid problems
- Parkinson’s disease
The cases I’ve treated have been in women who’re slender and their shoulder becomes “frozen” for no particular reason. One of my patients even had it affect both of her shoulders, although it’s typically only in one shoulder.
Can Dry Needling Help Frozen Shoulder?
Dry needling may provide rapid improvement in your case of frozen shoulder. Dry needling allows your provider to address myofascial trigger points and connective tissue restrictions that are keeping your shoulder frozen. By utilizing dry needling to address frozen shoulder, you may get a better range of motion and relief of discomfort that is immediate.
Here’s a great published case study of a patient who was successfully treated with dry needling –> Trigger point dry needling as an adjunct treatment for a patient with adhesive capsulitis of the shoulder.
Dry needling is probably the most aggressive conservative treatment for your frozen shoulder. Although it’s aggressive, in my experience using it to treat adhesive capsulitis and other shoulder injuries, it produces quicker improvement than other physical medicine treatments. I would encourage anyone suffering from frozen shoulder to find a chiropractor who uses dry needling as a treatment.
How to Treat Frozen Shoulder (Besides Dry Needling)?
Dry needling is not the only treatment available to address your frozen shoulder. In fact, I’d recommending using dry needling as a piece of your rehab strategy vs a stand-alone treatment. Other treatments that may help relieve pain and improve functional deficits from adhesive capsulitis include:
- Chiropractic adjustments (joint manipulation) – To address joint stiffness and loss of range of motion.
- Electric muscle stimulation – This helps relax shoulder muscles that may be in spasm or are just too tight.
- Stretching and corrective exercises – You HAVE to have a rehab plan to ease your shoulder back to normal.
- Soft tissue treatments like Graston Technique and massage – These can help reduce muscular and connective tissue trigger points.
- Acupuncture – Acupuncture can help reduce pain and relax overactive tissues.
Chiropractic care, physical therapy, massage, and medical care may all help you recover from frozen shoulder. In my opinion, chiropractic care is the best treatment option for your frozen shoulder. Chiropractors are experts at evaluating and improving joint stiffness, joint restriction, and range of motion deficits.
Dr. Jason Williams DC is a chiropractic physician practicing at AccessHealth Chiropractic in Cary, NC. He treats neuromusculoskeletal pain and injuries using chiropractic manipulation, dry needling, acupuncture, rehab exercise strategies, and other supportive therapies. Primary areas of focus include back pain, neck pain, muscular pain, extremity pain, and orthopedic injuries. Dr. Williams is experienced in treating athletes, especially those in the CrossFit, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Muay Thai, and MMA community.
If you’re interested in whether he or another AccessHealth provider can help you, navigate to our contact page or follow this link to request an appointment.