Frozen shoulder, also known as adhesive capsulitis, is a condition characterized by stiffness, pain, and limited range of motion in the shoulder joint. It is caused by inflammation and thickening of the capsule surrounding the shoulder joint, leading to the formation of adhesions. Ayurveda, the ancient Indian system of medicine, offers a comprehensive approach to managing frozen shoulder by addressing the underlying imbalances, reducing inflammation, and promoting joint mobility.
What is Frozen Shoulder?
Frozen shoulder is a condition that affects the shoulder joint, causing pain, stiffness, and reduced mobility. It typically progresses in three stages: freezing, frozen, and thawing. During the freezing stage, there is increasing pain and stiffness in the shoulder. In the frozen stage, the pain may subside, but the stiffness remains. In the thawing stage, the stiffness gradually improves, and the range of motion begins to return.
Ayurvedic View of Frozen Shoulder:
In Ayurveda, frozen shoulder is primarily viewed as an imbalance in the Vata and Kapha doshas. Vata represents the air and ether elements and is responsible for movement and mobility. Imbalanced Vata can lead to dryness, stiffness, and impaired joint mobility. Kapha represents the earth and water elements and is associated with stability and lubrication. Imbalanced Kapha can contribute to the accumulation of toxins and excess fluids in the joint, leading to inflammation and restricted movement.
Causes of Frozen Shoulder:
- Idiopathic: The exact cause of frozen shoulder is often unknown, but certain factors may increase the risk, such as age, gender (more common in women), and certain medical conditions.
- Immobility: Prolonged immobility or lack of use of the shoulder joint, such as after an injury, surgery, or prolonged bed rest.
- Inflammation: Inflammatory conditions like arthritis or bursitis can contribute to the development of frozen shoulder.
- Systemic diseases: Conditions like diabetes, thyroid disorders, and cardiovascular diseases have been associated with an increased risk of frozen shoulder.
- Previous shoulder injuries or trauma.
Symptoms of Frozen Shoulder:
- Pain in the shoulder, often worsening at night.
- Stiffness and reduced range of motion in the shoulder joint.
- Difficulty performing daily activities that involve shoulder movement.
- Gradual onset and progression of symptoms over time.
- Pain and stiffness may limit movement in all directions.
Ayurvedic Treatment Approach for Frozen Shoulder:
- Abhyanga (Ayurvedic massage): Massage of the shoulder and surrounding areas with warm herbal oils to reduce stiffness, improve circulation, and promote healing.
- Swedana (Herbal steam therapy): Application of herbal steam to the affected shoulder to relax the muscles, reduce pain, and increase joint mobility.
- Shallaki (Boswellia serrata): Possesses anti-inflammatory properties, helps reduce pain and inflammation in the shoulder joint.
- Nirgundi (Vitex negundo): Has analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties, beneficial in managing shoulder pain and stiffness.
- Guggulu (Commiphora mukul): Supports joint health, reduces inflammation, and promotes healing.
Lifestyle and Dietary Recommendations:
- Practice gentle exercises and stretching for the shoulder joint under the guidance of a qualified professional.
- Apply heat or warm compresses to the shoulder to help alleviate pain and stiffness.
- Follow a balanced diet that includes anti-inflammatory foods, such as fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats.
- Avoid excessive use of the affected shoulder and activities that worsen pain and discomfort.
- Practice stress management techniques like yoga, meditation, and deep breathing exercises.
Home Remedies for Frozen Shoulder:
- Apply a poultice made from a mixture of turmeric powder and warm sesame oil to the affected shoulder to reduce inflammation and promote healing.
- Gently massage the affected shoulder with warm castor oil to improve circulation and relieve pain.
Note: It is advisable to consult with a qualified Ayurvedic practitioner for a proper diagnosis and personalized treatment plan for frozen shoulder based on your specific condition.
Disclaimer: The information provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be considered as medical advice.
Dr. Ram Mani Bhandari