The medical term for Frozen Shoulder is Adhesive Capsulitis, which in itself basically means that there is inflammation as well as adhesions in and around the shoulder joint, causing pain and restricting movement. Symptoms seem to vary from patient to patient, but have some commonalities. These symptoms always include restricted or loss off movement in lifting the arm at the side, to the front and behind the back. This also includes a varying amount of pain with or without movement. It is very common to have what is typically referred to as “zingers”, which is a sporadic burning or shooting pain in the shoulder and down the arm. This can last up to minutes at a time. Pain is usually increased at night, often time leading to difficulty sleeping, which makes the healing process that much more difficult. Common qualities or traits include, but are not always defining factors are women over the age of 40 with a predisposition of diabetes. What Dr. Francis Murphy and Dr. Mathew Gutierrez have also found is that there can also be some sort of recent life changing event that has caused an increase in stress levels. There are typically 2 different types of Frozen Shoulder. Both have differentiating qualities.

Type 1

This type will present with a minimal to significant loss in range of motion in the arm with a bearable amount of pain that can typically be managed by avoiding certain movements. It is common to get some relief with stretches and hot showers. This type responds VERY rapidly to the OTZ method (often times instantly!).

Type 2

This type presents with a significant loss in range of motion with a very significant pain upon large and small movements. Pain can come out of nowhere and take time to calm down. In my experience, it is not uncommon for patients that present as a type 2 to develop some sort of emotional stress as well. This type also responds great to the OTZ Method, but may take a bit more of strengthening and stabilization.

What Is The Physiology of Frozen Shoulder?

Dr. Murphy and Dr. Gutierrez always make sure to be very thorough in examining each and every patient as well as explaining the physiological battles that must be overcome to correct Frozen Shoulder. The OTZ Method is not just a specialty of relief, but of prevention as well. The goal is to fix the problem and not have it come back to the same or opposite shoulder. The following is the very explanation given to all Frozen Shoulder patients. There are three parts to every FS that must be addressed in order to get complete resolution and there are different things done to address each.

First, there is irritation to one specific nerve that runs the shoulder. This nerve is the accessory nerve or cranial nerve 11. The significance of this nerve is that it stems from the base of the brain and exits the skull through what’s called the jugular foramen. The problem here is that the jugular foramen sits so close to the atlas or the very first vertebra of the spine. This makes for an easy impingement or subluxation. Stress overtime or postural damage can lead to this misalignment of the base of the skull as it sits on the very first vertebra, leading to irritation of this nerve. This can account for the burning shooting pain.

This is the part of the problem that can only be fixed with proper joint mobilization or alignment. The OTZ method of adjusting is the only adjusting technique that addresses this type of subluxation-coined the Hatcher-Murphy subluxation or Complex.

Second, we have to understand that muscles are designed to move. Movement helps to stimulate blood flow and the exchange of nutrients as well as the elimination of waste products in tissues. Patients who have Frozen Shoulder always present with what is called “upper cross syndrome”. This basically means that the muscles that attach to the front of the shoulder and neck have become stronger than the muscles on the back of the shoulder. What this leads to is a head forward posture with the shoulders rolling forward. The problem here is that if a muscle becomes dominant, overly tight or spastic, this will ultimately limit the amount of circulation to that area. Flexibility is almost always compromised here also. When we break this down, we see that a decrease in blood flow leads to a decrease in oxygen and when a tissue is deprived of the appropriate amount of oxygen for a prolonged period of time, it becomes fibrotic or it essentially develops scar tissue. This part of the problem can be corrected with the proper manual therapy or myofascial release. It is very important to have this done by a professional or someone that truly has experience in treating Frozen Shoulder, because if done incorrectly this can make things worse.

The third and last part of this is more of a neurological problem. During the development of Frozen Shoulder, the pain and/or loss of motion is often ignored. Unfortunately, most everyone is confused and does not think to get it checked out early on. It is usually after months or even years when someone starts to understand that this is a REAL problem. What happens during this time is the withering away of the brain-body communication. Essentially, the brain no longer knows how to communicate with the shoulder and arm. This is very similar to the effect that happens after someone has their arm in a cast for 6 weeks. It is initially difficult to extend the elbow or even control the arm comfortably.

In order to ultimately correct and prevent Frozen Shoulder from coming back, these three areas MUST be addressed and corrected. Another thing that must be taken into consideration is that each of these three areas may affect individuals differently. This is also why some people have been cured and then later they get it again in the same or other arm. It is imperative for a treating doctor to understand this and to be able to individualize a specific treatment plan for all patients. At Whole Health Partners in Dallas, Texas our doctors and therapists are experts at identifying and correcting a variety of shoulder problems, not only Frozen Shoulder Syndrome.

If you or a loved one would like to schedule a detailed examination and evaluation for your treatment of Frozen Shoulder, please call us at our main office in Dallas.

Whole Health Partners
6211 W Northwest Hwy suite C-159
Dallas, Tx 75225
Office: (214) 368-3030