Frozen shoulder

How Dr Buna fixed my frozen shoulder using the Neil-Asher Technique

Frozen shoulder (technical name: Adhesive Capsulitis) is when individuals experience constant shoulder pain that interferes with movement of the arms and shoulder. Dr Buna, our very own Victoria chiropractor, has taken specific training in the Niel-Asher Technique, or NAT, to assist in the treatment of frozen shoulder. Since 1997, this technique has been used in multiple medical disciplines, and has shown results better than other traditional forms of treatment. This video tells how treatments by Dr Buna, employing the Niel-Asher Technique, helped to resolve this person's frozen shoulder.


How can chiropractor Dr Buna help with your frozen shoulder ?

Frozen shoulder (Adhesive Capsulitis) describes a condition where constant shoulder pain interferes with movement of the arms and shoulder. With this painful and disabling condition individuals may experience:

  • Increased night pain causing sleep problems for extended periods
  • Increased pain in cold conditions
  • Restricted movement/positions, resulting in chronic fatigue
  • May lead to depression, pain
  • Problems in the neck and back
  • Certain movements can cause sudden onset of tremendous pain and cramping that can last several minutes.
  • Damage to the surrounding tissue.

Frozen shoulder can last from five months to three years or more, and is thought in some cases to be caused by injury or trauma to the area. This type of chronic injury can cause great frustration for patients and caregivers alike, due to the extened length of discomfort and the slow nature of recovery.

Anatomy of the shoulder joint?

shoulder jointThe shoulder joint is the most mobile and intricate joint in the body because it has many so bones, ligaments, tendons, bursae and the most important structure in our discussion, the joint capsule. The joint capsule is a stretchy bag that completely envelops the entire shoulder joint. The fluid lubricates the joint.

How does Frozen Shoulder develop?

Remember that there is a joint capsule that completely envelops the joint and provides lubrication. Because of the shoulder joint structure, this capsule is very loose (to allow mobility) and when the arm is held at its side, the capsule folds and sags down below the joint. (See image)shoulder joint capsule

Under normal conditions, when you abduct your arm (lift your arm up sideways) the capsule unfolds allowing for the extra movement. The inside of the capsule and part of the humeral head are lined with synovial tissue which produces the lubricating fluid (synovial fluid) of the joint.

Under abnormal conditions, e.g. injury, the joint capsule and the connective tissue surrounding the shoulder joint become inflamed. It is often one of the tendons in the joint that become inflamed. Because the shoulder is so interconnected the other structures in the shoulder also become inflamed because parts of the joint are not working properly. Eventually the tendons, ligaments, bursae and capsule become inflamed and the muscles that move the shoulder joint go into protective spasm. At this point, you have “frozen shoulder.”

The medical term, adhesive capsulitis, describes exactly what happens in this condition.

  1. The internal layer of the joint capsule becomes sticky when the capsule is inflamed.
  2. The internal surface of the capsule then sticks to itself which creates tough bands of tissue that decrease the stretchiness of the capsule.

These tough bands, called adhesions, greatly restrict movement in the shoulder and cause chronic pain.

Who gets frozen shoulder?

There is some correlation with autoimmune diseases, diabetes and affects 40 to 70 year old people with 60% of them women. In approximately half of the cases the cause of the frozen shoulder is unknown. The other half of the cases are created from trauma or overuse. There is a typical time pattern in this condition. 

What is the typical course of Frozen Shoulder?

Stage One: The “freezing” or painful stage, which may last from six weeks to nine months, and in which the patient has a slow onset of pain. As the pain worsens, the shoulder loses motion.

Stage Two: The “frozen” or adhesive stage is marked by a slow improvement in pain but the stiffness remains. This stage generally lasts four months to nine months.

Stage Three: The “thawing” or recovery, when shoulder motion slowly returns toward but never back to normal. This generally lasts five months to 26 months.

What treatments are available?

Unfortunately if left without treatment, the shoulder capsule continues to contract, leaving the individual in pain and with greatly reduced mobility. Therefore prompt and regular treatments are most effective and are aimed at reducing inflammation in and around the joint. These include combinations of:

  1. Manually moving the joint
  2. Using Trigger Point Therapy to mobilize the musculature
  3. Stretching and range of motion exercises
  4. Applying ice
  5. Using NSAID’s (Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs)
  6. Severe cases of this condition are treated with hydrodilation (injecting saline into the joint), injection of steroids into the joint or performing manipulation under anaesthesia.

How can Dr Buna help with your frozen shoulder?

There are four chiropractic avenues of treatment that Dr Buna can use to treat frozen shoulder:

  1. Manual Chiropractic Treatments to unstick the capsule. It is slightly painful but very effective.
  2. Trigger Point Treatments to the four main muscles of the shoulder, the coracobrachialis, the biceps and the supraspinatus and the subscapularis.
  3. Chiropractic Spinal Assessment of the area near the shoulder to ensure correct mobility and movement.
  4. Patient At Home Instructions regarding in-home daily ice therapy and exercises to facilitate unlocking the muscle spasms in the shoulder.

At some point in treatment, Dr Buna will use each of these strategies to help heal a frozen shoulder. The timing will depend on many factors, including how stuck the shoulder is and how long it has been stuck. For more information about a treatment plan for your frozen shoulder, call Dr Buna at 250 384 2412 to set up an appointment. 

Interested in learning about the Niel Asher technique and frozen shoulder, head over to

Health for Life Pilates and ChiropracticWhat is Frozen Shoulder and How Can Chiropractic Care Help? 

Frozen shoulder (Adhesive Capsulitis) is when individuals experience constant shoulder pain that interferes with movement of the arms and shoulder. Symptoms include: 

  • Increased pain at night, causing sleep problems for extended periods
  • Increased pain in cold conditions

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