Frozen shoulder or adhesive capsulitis is a chronic condition causing severe pain and stiffness in the shoulder joint. It usually begins gradually and worsens over time and is slow to recover. Though the condition is self-limiting and usually resolves on its own it can take a lot of time thereby making the condition disabling for the sufferer. Over time shoulder becomes hard to move and one may experience an extreme problem in working and performing daily life activities for an extended period of time. Homeopathic medicines for frozen shoulder can help relieve the presenting symptoms of the condition and also hold an advantage over other systems of medicine to aid treatment of the underlying cause.
These medicines are of natural origin and have no toxic effects. Rhus Tox, Ferrum Metallicum and Sanguinaria Canadensis top the list of medicines to treat frozen shoulder. They help in relieving pain and stiffness of the shoulder and can even save a person from undergoing any surgical procedures.
Homeopathic Medicines for Frozen Shoulder
In the conventional system of medicine, different ways can be opted to get relief from the symptoms of the pain and stiffness. But, nothing can be done to fix the underlying cause which is leading to the occurrence of the condition. Physical therapy and massages can be given initially to relieve the pain. But if it does not work, a different type of medication is given including NSAIDs (Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) and corticosteroids. In some cases, injections are also given locally or systemically to relieve the condition. If medications fail to act, surgery is done to cut the adhesions. In severe and prolonged cases surgery is usually advised to loosen the joint capsule so that it can move more freely.
Homeopathy is completely different from the conventional system of medicine. Natural medicines not only help the individual to recover well from presenting symptoms of the condition but also treat the root cause responsible for the occurrence of the complaint. Homeopathy believes in treating the underlying or root cause because if the root cause will be removed there will be no symptoms of the disease persisting in an individual. Complete case history by the homeopathic physician which will involve taking information upon the duration of the symptoms, underlying cause, symptoms, and modalities peculiar to the patient will guide the doctor towards the medicine which is most suited to the patient. When the medication will be given according to the symptom similarity patient will be able to recover from the condition wonderfully. Homeopathy has always been helpful in treating symptoms of frozen shoulder and minimizing the chances of recurrence of the condition and can help an individual to maintain a healthy lifestyle once he has completely recovered from the condition. Rhus Tox, Sanguinaria Can and Ferrum Met are the top 3 remedies for frozen shoulder.
1. Rhus Toxicodendron: Top Grade Medicine for Frozen Shoulder
Rhus tox is a medicine which is prepared from the fresh leaves of a plant which belongs to the Anacardiaceae family. Rhustox is a wonderful medicine that can help to relieve long-standing cases of marked stiffness in the shoulder joint. The shoulder is too stiff to move. The stiffness of shoulder gets usually better by warmth application. It can also be helpful in cases where motion and massages tend to offer relief in the stiffness. There is severe tearing, shooting pain at the top of the shoulder. Pains get worse during cold and wet weather. Pains become severe during the rest especially in night preventing the patient to fall asleep. There is a constant feeling of pressure on shoulders like a heavyweight is placed upon them.
Key Indications for using Rhus Tox:
Stiffness of the shoulder.
Tearing shooting pain in the shoulder.
Pains getting better by movement of the shoulder.
2. Sanguinaria Canadensis: For Right Sided Frozen Shoulder
Sanguinaria Can. is derived from the plant bloodroot of family Papaveraceae. Sanguinaria Can. is a great remedy which shows an affinity towards the pains occurring in the right shoulder. Pains are present in the top of right shoulder. Pains usually get worse during the night and while attempting to turn in bed. The patient feels great difficulty to raise the arm on account of distressing pains.
Right shoulder is affected.
There is nightly aggravation of the pain.
Difficulty in raising the arm.
3. Ferrum Metallicum: For Left Sided Frozen Shoulder
Ferrum met. is an amazing remedy for treating a complaint of left-sided frozen shoulder. There is a pain in the left shoulder which is constantly present. Pain is of drawing, shooting, tearing and laming character. Pains are usually shooting downward and travel down the arm and patient may feel it impossible to raise the arm. The person requiring this remedy feels extreme heaviness in the shoulder joint. Slow movement of the shoulder gradually improves the condition. Warmth can be given to relieve the pains. Pain gets aggravated in bed, the patient has to get up and move about slowly to get some relief.
Left shoulder is affected.
Aggravation of pain by motion.
Pains get better by warmth.
Other Important Remedies
1. Bryonia Alba: For Pains getting Worse from Least Motion
Bryonia is prepared from the plant wild hops which belong to the family Cucurbitaceae. Bryonia is an excellent remedy in cases where the pain in the shoulder gets worse from least motion. Pains are sharp and tearing in character which usually gets worse upon touch and by pressure. Relief of the pains takes place after the patient has complete rest. Application of the warmth can also be helpful in relieving the pains in the shoulder. There is painful pressure on the top of the shoulder. Stiffness is present in the shoulder joints.
2. Causticum: For Pains in Morning
Causticum is a good remedy in treating the cases of frozen shoulder where pains in the shoulder are worse in the morning. The patient may experience great discomfort and difficulty in moving the shoulder. There is a constant feeling of pressure and heaviness on shoulders. Pain which is dull, aching in character is present in the shoulder usually getting worse on motion.
3. Phytolacca: For Right Sided Frozen Shoulder
Phytolacca is prepared from the plant poke root which belongs to the family Phytolaccaceae. Phytolacca can be given in cases of frozen shoulder where the pain is present in the right shoulder. Pains in the shoulder and arms feel like electric shocks. Pains are shooting in character and travel from one part to the other. Pains usually worsen during the night and in damp weather. Patient experiences stiffness in the shoulder that usually makes him unable to raise the arm.
4. Ledum Palustre: For Pains on Raising the Arm
Ledum Pal is prepared from the plant wild rosemary which belongs to the family Ericaceae. Ledum Pal. suits well in the cases where the patient experiences severe pain in the shoulder while raising the arm. The pains are stitching and throbbing in nature. There is pain and pressure in both the shoulder joints which gets worse from motion.
5. Calcarea Phosphorica: For Pains getting Worse During Change of Weather
Calcarea Phos. can be given without a doubt in cases of frozen shoulder where pain gets worse from any change of weather. There is pain and stiffness in shoulders and shoulder-blades. Pains are dull, sore aching, bruised type in the shoulder and down the arm. Pains start from left then travel to the right and can travel downward to the arm as well.
6. Chelidonium Majus: Where Motion Causes Pain in Shoulder
Chelidonium is prepared from the entire fresh plant called greater celadine belonging to the family Papaveraceae. Chelidonium is the most suitable medicine in cases where there is a pain in the shoulder which gets worse on moving arm. Pain in the left shoulder feels like as if it was sprained. Pains are tearing in nature. Pain usually travels downwards with coldness and stiffness of the arms.
7. Rhododendron: For Shoulder Pains Worse during a Thunderstorm
Rhododendron is prepared from the fresh leaves of the plant commonly known as yellow snow rose which belongs to family Ericaceae. Rhododendron can be of extreme help in cases where there is marked pain in shoulder and gets during a thunderstorm. The patient usually feels pains which get worse while lying upon it and getting relieved by turning to the other side. Violent, tearing and boring type of pains occur in the shoulder which can worsen from motion.
8. Guaiacum Officinale: For Marked Stiffness
Guaiacum is prepared from the plant Lignum vite resin of family Zygophyllaceae. Guaiacum can act wonders in cases where there is immovable stiffness of the joints taking place. There is a sharp stitching type of pains in the top of the shoulder. Pains are of drawing and lacerating nature which can travel down the arm.
9. Syphilinum: Where Pains get Worse on Raising the Arms
Syphilinum acts well on the patients of frozen shoulder well where the pain in the shoulder worsens on raising the arm. The patient is able to raise the arm only up to the level of the shoulder with difficulty. He fails to attempt to move the arm above the level of the shoulder.
10. Ferrum Phos.: Where Pain is Relieved by Gentle Motion
Persons requiring Ferrum phos. get in the shoulder which gets relieved by moving the arm gently. The pains are violent, drawing and tearing in nature and gets worse by the sudden or violent motion of the arm. As the condition is relieved by gentle motion, the patient keeps it moving and cannot make the arm still. The shoulder is stiff, painful and highly sensitive to touch.
11.Thuja: For Marked Stiffness
Thuja is prepared from the plant Arbor Vitae belonging to the family coniferae. Thuja can aid the condition well when there is marked stiffness of the shoulder joint. There is sticking, tearing, throbbing type of pains in the shoulder which can get worse even from hanging the arm lose. Pains can also get worse at night and by the warmth of bed. Placing the arm over the head is extremely painful for the patient. Stretching the joints produces cracking sound.
12. Lycopodium: For Tearing Pain in Shoulder Joint
Lycopodium is derived from a plant club moss which belongs to the Lycopodiaceae family. Lycopodium can help in relieving the condition of frozen shoulder where there is tearing type of pains in the shoulder joint. There is pain and tension in the right shoulder. Pain can occur even when the patient is at rest. Bruised pains in shoulders and in the region of scapula and upper arm. One may also experience twitching in the shoulders.
13. Sulphur: For Marked Heaviness in the Shoulder
Sulphur can be helpful in treating cases where extreme heaviness in the shoulders is felt by the patient. There is a feeling of pressure on the shoulder while walking in the open air. There are pains in the left shoulder as if it was sprained or bruised. There is stitching type of pains in the shoulder on attempting to move. The patient usually experiences worsening of pains, especially at night.
Symptoms of Frozen Shoulder
This condition has two main symptoms which are pain and stiffness in the shoulder. Pain is of dull aching character which can occur in the outer shoulder or upper arm. Usually, one side gets affected but in rare cases, both sides can get involved. Pain can become severe over time and can get worse during:
Weather changes: Some patients may experience worsening of pain or stiffness particularly during cold or dry weather.
Night: Pains usually gets worse during the night which can cause difficulty in getting proper sleep and further leading to sleep deprivation in the patients suffering from frozen shoulder.
Motion: Movement of the shoulder joint is difficult for the patient resulting in restricted movement of the shoulder joint. The range of motion might also get affected.
There is a course which is usually followed in the occurrence of a frozen shoulder. The three main stages are:
Stage I: The Freezing Stage
In this stage, the pain begins slowly, the range of motion starts getting limited with a stiffness of the joint. Any movement of the shoulder causes pain, and as the pain progresses and becomes worse, the shoulder tends to lose its mobility. These symptoms can last for six weeks to nine months.
Stage II: The frozen Stage or adhesive stage.
In this stage, slow improvement in the pain takes place but the stiffness remains. Using the shoulder becomes more difficult causing hindrance in performing daily life activities. These symptoms usually last from four months to a year’s time.
Stage III: The thawing stage or stage of recovery.
In this stage, the motion of shoulder slowly returns towards normal and a range of motion in the shoulder begins to improve. These symptoms generally last from 6 months to two years of time.
Causes of Frozen Shoulder
The shoulder is a ball and socket joint. It is made up of three bones namely Humerus (bone in the upper arm), Scapula (shoulder blade), Clavicle (collarbone). Strong connective tissue or shoulder capsule surrounds the joint and holds everything (bones, ligaments, tendons) together. Also, there is the presence of synovial membrane which lines the joint capsule and produces synovial fluid. Synovial fluid helps in providing lubrication to the joint and the capsule and reducing the friction between the bones, making the movement of the shoulder easier.
When inflammation of the shoulder capsule starts and thick bands of the tissue or adhesions start developing, there is less room in joint for the humerus, making the joint painful and stiff to move. It can further progress to a restriction of the movement of the shoulder.
In some cases, the synovial fluid can get reduced due to different causes. Reduction in the amount of the fluid can lead to limiting the motion of the shoulder even more due to the occurrence of pain during motion.
Any fall on the shoulder or any injury to the adjacent tissues of the shoulder can also give rise to this condition. Alternately, it may have an autoimmune component involved as thickening and swelling can occur as a result of a misguided immune response. In some cases, this condition can arise with no absolute cause.
Age: It is more common in people who are 40 years of age and above.
Sex: It is more common in females than in males.
Immobility: Immobility of the joint can happen in cases where one is recovering from any health condition which is preventing him from using the arm or the shoulder. In such cases, one may get prone to develop the symptoms of frozen shoulder. This can happen after surgery, stroke, rotator cuff injury, fracture etc.
Systemic Diseases: People who are suffering from any systemic diseases like diabetes mellitus, thyroid disease are at a higher risk of developing frozen shoulder, as these usually affect different parts of an individual at a particular time.
Connective tissue disease: Anyone who is suffering from connective tissue diseases like systemic lupus erythematosus can be on a higher risk to develop symptoms frozen shoulder.
Diagnosis and Investigations
Diagnosis can be usually made only upon the basis of the physical examination and signs and symptoms provided by the patient. In cases where required, X-Ray and MRI can be conducted on the advice of the physician to confirm the diagnosis. MRI is usually helpful in detecting the severity of the complaints.
This condition is usually self-limiting and is not life-threatening. But, it can affect one’s quality of life as it can cause trouble at times to perform daily life activities and can be distressing to the patient. Known complications of the condition are:
Sleep Deprivations: As the pains become worse usually during the night so it can lead to problems in falling asleep easily thereby making the sufferer deprived of sleep.
Depression: If one has a tendency to develop the symptoms, again and again, a person might develop anxiety and depression due to prolonged suffering.
It can start from one shoulder but there are chances that the condition can progress to affect the other shoulder also.
Problems in neck and back can also take place in cases where the condition is not treated well and has progressed.
Prevention and Management of Frozen Shoulder
The condition can be prevented if one keeps a check on a few things.
Frozen shoulder usually starts from immobilization. Often, the shoulder starts to pain when progressing towards becoming stiff. This may cause someone to move the joint less and leading to further adhesions of the shoulder joint, preventing the movement of shoulder in full range. One should keep the shoulder in complete motion to avoid the occurrence of this condition.
If one is having any injury which prohibits movement the shoulder joint a few exercises must be performed to maintain the range of motion in the shoulder joint on a daily basis.
Management of the condition aims at restoring the joint movement and reducing the shoulder pain. Management can be done by performing physiotherapy, massages, stretching exercises. One must perform exercises which involve a range of motion of the shoulder joint so that the adhesions start to loosen up and shoulder can move freely.