Case Series Shows Chiropractic Effective for Frozen Shoulder

Frozen Shoulder


A case series was recently published in the Journal of Chiropractic Medicine to explore the chiropractic treatment and outcomes of a series of patients who suffered from frozen shoulder syndrome.


What is Frozen Shoulder Syndrome?

The shoulder is a very complex joint that is crucial to many activities of daily living. Decreased shoulder mobility is a serious clinical finding. A global decrease in shoulder range of motion is called adhesive capsulitis, referring to the actual adherence of the shoulder capsule to the humeral head. Adhesive capsulitis is a syndrome defined as idiopathic restriction of shoulder movement that is usually painful at onset.


The Three States of Frozen Shoulder Syndrome

There are three stages associated with adhesive capsulitis:

  1. “Freezing Phase” Initially, there is progressive limitation of all movements of the shoulder. This may follow a recent minor trauma, dislocation, prolonged immobilisation, heart attack (myocardial infarction) and sometimes neck problems (cervical radiculitis). Pain may or may not accompany this, although pain will be felt if you try to exceed the limited movement. This phase can last anywhere between 2 and 9 months.
  2. “Frozen Phase” As the fluid in the joint becomes thickened there may be more pain and eventually, the condition progresses until all movement is greatly restricted. This phase can last from 4 to 12 months.
  3. “Thawing Phase” As the inflammation begins to subside so does any pain experienced. During this phase movement in the shoulder begins to gradually return but may or may not recover 100% if left untreated. This phase characteristically lasts between 6 to 9 months.


The Case Series for Frozen Shoulder Syndrome

The files of 50 patients from o a private chiropractic practice with frozen shoulder syndrome were reviewed  and presented retrospectively. Two primary outcomes were extracted from the files for initial examination and at final evaluation: (1) the 11-point numeric pain rating scale and (2) the percentage change in shoulder abduction. Each patient received a series of chiropractic manipulative procedures that focused on the cervical and thoracic spine.

Results of the Case Series

Of the case files reviewed, 20 were male and 30 were female; and all were between the ages of 40 and 70 years. The median change in Numeric Pain Rating Scale score was −7 (range, 0 to −10) in a 28-day period. Of the 50 cases, 16 resolved completely, reflecting a 100% improvement.  25 cases also showed a remarkable 75% to 90% improvement.  8 cases showed 50% to 75% improvement, and 1 showed 0% to 50% improvement.

The Journal of Chiropractic Medicine was able to conclude that the vast majority of the patients with frozen shoulder syndrome in this case series appeared to improve solely with the chiropractic treatment that they received.

This is extremely encouraging for patients suffering from Frozen Shoulder Syndrome, as chiropractic is a much more conservative route for care than the normally prescribed steroid injections and the even riskier routesurgery.  The  recovery times from surgery may vary, but usually range from 6 weeks to three months.


Treatment for Frozen Shoulder Syndrome in Augusta GA

Frozen Shoulder Syndrome is a condition that typically can be managed and resolved effectively through our customized care as specialized Augusta GA chiropractors.  We can provide specific treatments to address your frozen shoulder, which is most often caused by inflammation (swelling, pain, and irritation) of the tissues surrounding the joint.  As one of the few clinics in the state of Georgia able to customize your chiropractic care with cold laser treatments, we have been able to successfully help patients with their frozen shoulder syndrome by greatly reducing the inflammation.

You can schedule a complimentary consultation with our office to find out if our customized treatments are the right fit for your condition.


The Georgia Clinic of Chiropractic Blog is written by Dr. Mark Huntsman.

Augusta GA Chiropractor Georgia Clinic of Chiropractic provides customized chiropractic care. Visit our main website at for a chiropractor in Augusta GA and a chiropractor in Evans GA that specializes in customized treatments.

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