Frozen Shoulder Syndrome Improves With Chiropractic Care

98% of patients studied with Frozen Shoulder Syndrome (Adhesive Capsulitis) responded positively


A report on the scientific literature 

 Michael Schonfeld, DC, DABCO

Frozen shoulder syndrome (FSS)  is a common condition presenting to a variety of health care practitioners including chiropractors, osteopaths, medical doctors, and physical therapists. Also referred to as adhesive capsulitis, FSS remains one of the most poorly understood shoulder conditions, with its cause most of the time, unknown. Recently, a consensus definition of FSS was reached by the American Shoulder and Elbow Surgeons to be a condition characterized by functional restriction of both active (while moving) and passive (while still) shoulder motion for which  x-rays of the shoulder are usually negative. It occurs usually between 40 and 60 years of age, is 3 to 7 times more prevalent in women than men and it is characterized by sudden onset, night pain along with a painful restriction of numerous motions of the shoulder. Common  traditional medical treatments include nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, steroid injection, and shoulder surgery. 

The purpose of this study was to describe the treatment and outcomes of a series of patients presenting with frozen shoulder syndrome who received a chiropractic approach (OTZ Tension Adjustment) which was mostly neck and midback adjustments.

The files of 50 consecutive patients who presented to a private chiropractic practice with frozen shoulder syndrome were reviewed. Two primary outcomes were extracted from the files for initial examination and at final evaluation: (1) the 11-point numeric pain rating scale and (2) the percentage change in shoulder abduction (ability to raise their arm from their side as far as they could go). Each patient received a series of chiropractic manipulative procedures that focused on the cervical (neck) and thoracic (mid back) spine.
Of the case files reviewed, 20 were male and 30 were female; and all were between the ages of 40 and 70 years. The average number of days under care was 28 days (range, 11 to 51 days). The median change in Numeric Pain Rating Scale score was −7 (range, 0 to −10). Of the 50 cases, 16 resolved completely (100% improvement), 25 showed 75% to 90% improvement, 8 showed 50% to 75% improvement, and 1 showed 0% to 50% improvement.

Conclusion: 98% of patients treated with frozen shoulder syndrome were reported to have improved with chiropractic care.


Murphy F., Hal, M., D'Amico L., Jensen A., (2012) Chiropractic management of frozen should syndrome using a novel technique: a retrospective case series of 50 patients, Journal of Chiropractic Medicine 11, 267-272

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Muscle Pain, Trigger Points and Chiropractic

A report on the scientific literature 


"Myofascial pain syndrome is a chronic form of muscle pain. The pain of myofascial pain syndrome centers around sensitive points in your muscles called trigger points. The trigger points can be painful when touched and the pain can spread throughout the affected muscle" (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 2009,

Nearly everyone experiences muscle pain from time to time that generally resolves in a few days. But people with myofascial pain syndrome have muscle pain that persists or worsens. Myofascial pain caused by trigger points has been linked to many types of pain, including headaches, jaw pain, neck pain, low back pain, pelvic pain, and arm and leg pain" (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 2009,

"MPS may be related to a closer-studied complex condition known as fibromyalgia. By accepted definition, the pain of fibromyalgia is generalized, occurring above and below the waist and on both sides of the body. On the other hand, myofascial pain is more often described as occurring in a more limited area of the body, for example, only around the shoulder and neck, and on only one side of the body.

Neither MPS nor fibromyalgia is thought to be an inflammatory or degenerative condition, and the best evidence suggests that the problem is one of an altered pain threshold, with more pain reported for a given amount of painful stimuli. This altered pain threshold can be manifest as increased muscle tenderness, especially in the certain areas, e.g., the trapezius muscle. These syndromes tend to occur more often in women than in men, and the pain may be associated with fatigue and sleep disturbances" (Wikipedia, 2010,

In 2009, a comprehensive study  by Vernon & Schneider reported that manual-type therapies (chiropractic care) have acceptable evidentiary support in the treatment of myofascial pain syndrome and myofascial trigger points. This study along with many others concludes that a drug-free approach of chiropractic care is one of the best solutions for myofacial pain syndrome. To find a qualified doctor of chiropractic near you go to the US Chiropractic Directory at www.uschirodirectory.comand search your state.


1.  Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. (2009, December). Mayofacial pain syndrome. Retrieved from

2.  Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. (2010, July). Myofacial pain sydrome. Retrieved from
3.  Vernon, H., & Schneider, M. (2009). Chiropractic management of myofascial trigger points and myofascial pain syndrome: A systematic review of the literature. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, 32(1), 14-24.

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