Daily activity is the key to flexibility of shouldersAmong the various joints in our body, the shoulder is indisputably the joint with the most extensive range of movement. Moreover, the shoulder, together with the knee, is the joint that eventually develops the greatest variety of problems, just one of which is the so-called “frozen shoulder.”
The term frozen shoulder is used to describe a variety of conditions that cause pain and limit the range of motion of the shoulder joint.
Most commonly caused by inflammation of the synovial tissue or increased viscosity of synovial fluid, frozen shoulder occurs mainly in middle-aged people. Therefore, in East Asia it has earned the label “shoulder of fifties”.
In some cases, the pain associated with frozen shoulder can be severe enough to disturb a person’s sleep; in others, patients cannot rotate the shoulder properly, and have difficulty moving the affected arm out and away from the body.
Korean traditional doctors view frozen shoulder as the result of the stagnation of ki, or a body’s vital energy, and blood, which may be triggered by exposure to cold, dampness, wind or by past injuries.
We also know that people with diabetes have a greater risk of frozen shoulder. This may imply an autoimmune component, meaning that the immune system begins to attack the healthy parts of the body ― in this case, the supporting structures of the shoulder.
The treatment of this disease, therefore, focuses on removing the ki and blood stasis, relieving muscle rigidity, activating the collateral muscles and stopping pain.
Acupuncture has been an acknowledged method for ki flow regulation, and therefore pain control, for more than two millennia. For this particular condition, a special form of acupuncture may be used, the so called “bee venom pharmacopuncture therapy,” in which a tiny amount of diluted bee poison is injected in relevant acupuncture points. This is a very effective way to treat inflammation of joints and in combination with herbal decoctions promotes blood circulation and relieves blood stasis.
Once the acute pain is lessened, strength and flexibility must be restored. Either swimming or a combined stretching and weight-training regimen would be an excellent way to do this.
Another exercise, known as wall crawling, may be beneficial. During this exercise, stand erect, face a wall and extend the affected arm directly in front of your body, so that your fingertips touch the wall. Creep up the wall with your fingertips, and walk toward the wall as you reach higher and higher. Avoid arching your back.
Repeat with your fingertips creeping down the wall as you walk backward. Then repeat the exercise with your arm extended sideways to the wall.
Even for healthy people it is recommended to move the shoulder joint through its full range of motion several times a day to avoid stiffening, and to increase blood circulation in the shoulder, neck and arm simultaneously.
Activity is the key to a healthy life. www.jaseng.net
by Dr. Raimund Royner
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