Frozen shoulder syndrome is also known in a lesser sense as adhesive capsulitis. This condition is merely a form of shoulder pain that causes a limited range of. Frozen shoulder syndrome is an umbrella diagnosis for shoulder immobility and pain that has no known underlying cause.
The author Janet Travell who wrote the book Myofascial Pain and Dysfunction: The Trigger Point Manual, talked about the medical literature on frozen shoulder. She stated that when a lot of authors have a consensus that the reason of a condition is enigmatic or unknown, one has a good reason to think that a significant factor is being overlooked.
According to Travell, this major factor is small knots that occur in a muscle when it is overworked or injured. These small knots are better known as trigger points. They are found in the subscapularis muscle in frozen shoulder syndrome. With the help of acupuncture these trigger points can be resolved that then leads to the cure of frozen shoulder permanently. This gives people an alternative to conventional mainstream remedies that are often merely temporarily effective. These conventional protocols include surgery, cortisone shots, and pain killers.
The tantalizing performances of Olympic swimmers especially freestyle swimming belie the fact that these swimmers that have a high risk of developing subscapularis trigger points that leads to Frozen Shoulder Syndrome.
Signs of Subscapularis Trigger Points
The rotator cuff is composed of four muscles and one of these muscles is the subscapularis. The subscapularis connects to the front of the humerus bone as well as to the inner surface of the scapula. Its main role is to hold in place the humerus during arm motions to prevent displacement. This muscle likewise assists in the internal rotation of the head of the humerus.
Trigger points are small knots or nodules that develop in the muscles that are quite sensitive and can result in pain; when they occur in the subscapularis muscle they elicit a signature pain-referral pattern. It is in the deltoid muscle where the pain seems to originate. It can then radiate to various parts of the body including the scapula and the back side of the upper arm. The pain often bypasses the forearm but can reappear as a band around the wrist.
Subscapularis trigger points in its initial stage usually does not disallow individuals from reaching their arms upwards. However, when they try to reach backward (like, for example, you are about to throw a ball), this may tend to be painful. This is the reason why adhesive capsulitis and frozen shoulder are also occasionally called pitcher’s arm.
Wrist pain is one other indicator of subscapularis trigger points that tends to be felt on the back of the wrist, which makes it quite difficult to strap on a wristwatch.
Shoulder Pain Due to Trigger Points in the Subscapularis: Typical Causes
Do you feel that the pain in your shoulder may be emanating from trigger points in the subscapularis muscle? If so, listed below are typical reasons how these trigger points act up:
- Physical activities that are overdone and which requires the medial rotation of the arm – Two examples of these activities include throwing a baseball and freestyle swimming.
- Bringing your arm closer to the body (adducting the arm) while doing some strenuous overhead lifting – A kettleball swing exercise is one example of this. This is an exercise where you stretch out your arms to raise the kettleball from between your legs.
- Injuries such as a shoulder joint tear or a fracture on the humerus that put sudden stress on the shoulder muscles
An activation of a trigger point in the subscapularis or any muscle for that matter, becomes aggravated or is perpetuated by daily movements. A slumped forward posture or sleeping on one’s side can aggravate your frozen shoulder syndrome.
Cures for Frozen Shoulder Syndrome (FSS) Pain
Once you’ve identified the FSS trigger points as the reason for your shoulder immobility and pain, you can take certain steps to resolve them.
Placing acupuncture needles directly into the affected muscle can release the trigger points in the subscapularis muscle.
While this modality is very potent in the curing of shoulder pain, placing needles into these trigger points can be quite uncomfortable because of where the subscapularis is located. The acupuncturist first needs to aggressively palpate inside the underarm in order to access the muscle.
One other technique acupuncturists can use to treat pain from trigger points is to needle acupuncture points remote from the actual site of the pain, selecting meridians that connect to the painful areas of the body.
An example of this is the small meridian intestine that travels directly along the typical pain-referral pattern for subscapularis trigger points. The small intestine meridian located farther down the actual site of the pain can be chosen by the acupuncturist for needling.
Another example can be the small Intestine 3 acupuncture point found on the hand’s side. This point is often needled to relieve upper back and shoulder pain around the scapular region. This point can also be massaged to mitigate pain in the affected body part.
Correct your posture
What you can do while awake or sleeping is to correct your posture. This is one good way of relieving you frozen shoulder pain.
When you wake up, try to avoid the all too common slumped-forward posture that has been the result of long-term computer use in many. The slumped-forward posture coerces the arms to into a medially rotated position, and this causes the development in the subscapularis of trigger points.
If you are standing, in order to prevent the arms from touching your sides, hook your thumbs into your pants or belt. Also, you need to move your arms frequently when you’re at your desk. One good movement to do is to reach your arm up or place your hands behind your head. This can keep the subscapularis muscle stretched.
Use a pillow when sleeping –Sleep with a pillow on your head. If you sleep sideways bearing weight on the painful side, you can insert a pillow between the side of your body and elbow. This helps abduct the arm from the body stretching the subscapularis muscle. You can place the pillow in your front to enable the affected arm to rest on it If you are sleeping on your pain-free side. Put the pillow in front of you so that the painful arm can rest on it (like you are hugging the pillow).
Perform a doorway stretch – This is one very effective way of relieving FSS pain. To do this, you need to stand in a doorway with both hands at about shoulder height placed on either side of the door. Then lean forward to passively stretch your subscapularis.
No amount of corticone shots, pain killers or even surgeries is going to treat if your shoulder pain emanates from trigger points located in the subscapularis. Acupuncture may be the best option you have for FSS.