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Frozen Shoulder treatment is more than just the rotator cuff muscles.

Frozen shoulder, Adhesive Capsulitis, and chronic shoulder pain occurs when a series of muscles surrounding the shoulder are inflexible. Shoulder pain is related to the muscles that attach to the scapula bone. Four muscles, in particular, called the rotator cuff muscles affect the flexibility of the shoulder joint. However, frozen shoulder involves many more muscles than just the rotator cuff muscles. Unwinding the muscles of the upper arms, chest, upper back, and neck all play a role in frozen shoulder treatment. Unwinding the muscles that connect to the scapula is one of the goals in curing frozen shoulder pain. Active Isolated Stretching (AIS) treats shoulder pain by first lengthening the outer muscles of the upper body and then treating the inner muscle layers – the rotator cuff muscles. Active Isolated Stretching and Strengthening can cure frozen shoulder.

Muscles of the rotator cuff

The four rotator cuff muscles are: supraspinatus, infraspinatus, teres minor, and subscapularis. All of these muscles attach to the scapula. Releasing shoulder pain requires freeing the scapula from strains and stresses. And the scapula is pulled on by many more muscles than the rotator cuff muscles. The muscles of the chest, upper arms, deltoids, and upper back muscles all affect the scapula. When any of these muscles are excessively tight, the scapula is pulled out of anatomical position which can cause pain in the shoulder joint.

Frozen shoulder

Function and dysfunction of the rotator cuff

Symptoms of Adhesive Capsulitis are pain felt deep inside the shoulder joint and an inability in raising the arm. Muscles work in groups. And frozen shoulder is caused by a group of muscles being overly tight. The first muscles that need lengthening are the muscles of the chest, upper arms, deltoids, and upper back (this observation is not recognized by conventional medical procedure). Rotator cuff muscles allow the shoulder to move freely within the shoulder capsule. But if the chest, arms, deltoids, and upper back muscles are not lengthened first, frozen shoulder treatment is rarely successful. The rotator cuff muscles (infraspinatus, supraspinatus, teres minor, subscapularis) are treated after the larger muscles (chest, arms, deltoids, upper back) are manually lengthened.

The epidural injection as frozen shoulder treatment

When a person sees a physician for frozen shoulder treatment, the common approach is the application of an anti-inflammatory injection. However epidural injections are not always successful in solving frozen shoulder. The needle injects an anti-inflammatory agent into the rotator cuff muscles, but this does not address inflammation in the surrounding muscles that are contributing to shoulder pain. The bicep muscle of the arm is one of the most difficult muscles in the body to unwind. The epidural injection does nothing towards lengthening the bicep muscle. A tight bicep muscle is almost always involved in adhesive capsulitis cases. Tight tricep muscles of the upper arm are also important in solving frozen shoulder. Tricep muscles are not lengthened by an epidural injection. The epidural injection goes under the deltoid muscle, but the deltoid muscle of the shoulder is not lengthened by the injection. There are numerous muscles that need to be stretched to cure frozen shoulder, while the epidural injection is reducing inflammation in the deep rotator cuff muscles, it does not reduce inflammation in the larger muscles that surround the rotator cuff. This is why the medical approach to solving adhesive capsulitis is not always successful.

The best frozen shoulder treatment

Active Isolated Stretching approaches adhesive capsulitis by first opening the most external layers of muscles of the shoulder complex then lengthening the muscles that are underlying. This peeling away approach is one of the unique trademarks of Active Isolated Stretching. Only after opening the superficial dominant muscles (pectorals, biceps, triceps, deltoids, trapezius, latissimus dorsi, rhomboids, and serratus) can we then affect the smaller critical rotator cuff muscles (infraspinatous, supraspinatous, teres minor, and subscapularis). The shoulder joint can only move freely when both groups of muscles are manually lengthened to remove all restrictions.

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3 Responses to Frozen Shoulder treatment is more than just the rotator cuff muscles.

  1. A good explanation of problems are given. I want to ask can the exercises for neck pain involving arm stretching suit a person who had undergone breast surgery and axilla incision four years ago.

    • To Meenu,

      Yes, Active Isolated Stretching exercises can benefit someone who has undergone breast surgery and axilla incision four years ago. Enough time has passed that such a person can now begin a flexibility training program. There is probably a great deal of scar tissue resulting from the surgeries that need to be reshaped. The scar tissue that has resulted from the surgeries has a causal effect on neck pain. Tightness in the chest muscles will pull on the sternocleidomastoid muscle of the neck (at the front of the neck). This combination can cause forward head posture. The more the head juts forward, the more strain is placed on the trapezius muscles (at the back of the neck). This type of rehabilitation can be addressed well with an AIS expert. I hope you’ll get a chance to work with someone that is highly skilled.
      Best wishes,
      Anthony Ohm

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Anthony Ohm is a pain specialist and a sports therapist. The technique is called Active Isolated Stretching and Strengthening(AIS). Treatment is available in Honolulu, Hawaii and Los Angeles, California The AIS method is highly beneficial for: disc issues, chronic physical pain, pain related to aging, arthritis, bursitis, sciatica, neuropathy, Parkinson's disease, and much much more... However you are presenting, whether you are crippled or a professional athlete, AIS treatment will put you in better physical condition than your current state.