Traditional Chinese Medicine for Frozen Shoulder
From the perspective of traditional Chinese medicine, frozen shoulder is considered as blockage in the flow of qi and blood throughout pathways in the body. In TCM theory, there are six external forces invade the human body to cause diseases. They are called the six external pathogens, namely wind, heat, dampness, fire, dryness and cold.
For people with frozen shoulder, the blockage is often caused by cold invade the body and enter into the shoulder muscles and joints which leads to shoulder joint become immobilized. Weather changes can induce the invasion of external pathogens. It is why shoulder pain may get worse at night or in cold weather.
In Chinese medicine, frozen shoulder is also known as fifties shoulder because one of the main reasons behind this shoulder condition is old age, when energy in the body is declining caused by yang qi deficiency.
Acupuncture for Frozen Shoulder
TCM practitioners often offer acupuncture combined with herbal formula for frozen shoulder. Acupuncture is very effective for frozen shoulder in early stage. It should help to reduce pain and improve range of motion. According to the World Health Organization, acupuncture has been proved through controlled trials, is effective for periarthritis of shoulder (1). Acupressure and heat therapy are also very helpful for frozen shoulder. It assists in the relaxation of the affected muscles, relieving the tension and pain. While the acupuncture is helpful to reduce pain and improve blood circulation, an herbal formula will be used based on your condition and constitution.
Frozen Shoulder Pain Relief
1) Yan Hu Suo (Corydalis) has been traditionally used for pain relief. Many studies suggest that Yan Hu Suo can block inflammation and nerve pain. It contains a pain-relieving compound called dehydrocorybulbine (DHCB), which is believed to produce pain-relieving effects by blocking pain signals in the brain (2).
2) Jiang Huang (Turmeric) has been traditionally used to reduce joint pain in Chinese medicine. Its anti-inflammatory properties can help to relieve arthritis pain, tennis elbow, frozen shoulder and joint pain (3).