If your doctor has diagnosed you with frozen shoulder, they may recommend massage therapy as a form of treatment. They'll probably recommend other treatments too, such as physical therapy, medications, or maybe even shoulder manipulations while you're under anesthesia.
Frozen shoulder is a painful condition, and it limits the movement of your arm too, so finding effective treatment is important. Here's how massage therapy might help with your treatment plan for frozen shoulder.
Kneading Relieves Muscle Tension
Your massage therapist works on all the muscles in your shoulder on the front and back to relieve muscle tension. They might also use heat to further relax your muscles. Kneading might also help with muscle spasms and pain. Kneading is just one type of massage therapy the therapist might use. The exact treatments you get depends on the goal of the massage and the stage of your frozen shoulder.
During the first stage of frozen shoulder, which is the freezing phase, the goal is to decrease inflammation, maintain range of motion in the shoulder, and reduce pain. Kneading massages can increase circulation and help prevent scar tissue from building that limits movement in the following stage.
Deep Tissue Massage
During the frozen stage, the pain from frozen shoulder often improves but the range of motion often decreases. This happens when adhesions or scars form around the tissues in your shoulder. Deep tissue massage is a technique the therapist can use to break up adhesions by applying deep pressure on painful areas in your shoulder. This can be a bit uncomfortable at first, but it may help improve the range of motion in your shoulder.
Trigger Point Therapy
Trigger point massage helps muscles release spasms by applying steady pressure to help the muscles relax. Since spasms can be painful, this type of massage can help with pain relief. This and other types of massage therapy might be given during the third phase of frozen shoulder, which is the thawing phase. The goal of massage and other treatments during this phase is to stretch the tissues in your shoulder, build range of motion, and assist healing. Massage treatments may be more vigorous since pain has often diminished during this phase.
Frozen shoulder can last a couple of years, so you may need several massage treatments as your condition passes through the phases necessary for healing. Your massage therapist may even teach you self-massage techniques you can do yourself at home with your hands or a foam roller between your massage therapy sessions. To learn more about massage therapy, contact someone like Stephanie Hoffer RMT.