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When Your Body Gives You the Cold Shoulder

By Kate Gardner

Your shoulders are way more complicated than you realize. We often think of the shoulder as one joint, but it's actually comprised of four joints that work together to make sure you can bend, move, lift, and extend your arms. With so much going on, it's not surprising that sometimes shoulder joints don't behave the way we want them to. 

Frozen Shoulder

Frozen shoulder (also known as adhesive capsulitis) is a common cause of pain and dysfunction in the shoulder. According to, this disorder occurs when the capsule of connective tissue that covers your shoulder joint grows thicker and tightens around the joint. This leads to pain and stiffness in the shoulder. Frozen shoulder is more likely to occur in women and people over 40. It sometimes occurs after a person has an injury or surgery that requires the shoulder to be immobile (such as having a broken arm). 

Frozen shoulder consists of three stages. It can take several months to move through each stage.

  • Freezing stage - During this stage, shoulder movement begins to cause pain and you may notice that your range of motion in that shoulder is less. 

  • Frozen stage - In the second stage, pain may be less but the shoulder is frozen, meaning that it is stiff and hard to move. 

  • Thawing stage - The last stage, thawing, is when the shoulder begins to loosen up and joint mobility improves. 

Chiropractic Care

Dr. Molly Casey at The Joint Chiropractic tells us how chiropractic care can help thaw out your frozen shoulder. A trip to the chiropractor may include: 

  • Adjustment - Chiropractic adjustment of the cervical and upper thoracic spine may help the shoulder move properly, allowing frozen shoulders to begin to heal. 

  • Joint manipulation - Chiropractic care for frozen shoulder may include joint manipulation to "...restore proper joint motion, position and ultimately function." 

  • Exercises - Your chiropractor may show you simple exercises to help increase range of motion in the affected shoulder. 

  • Supplements - Your chiropractor may recommend supplements to help support your joint health, including collagen protein.

If you're suffering from frozen shoulder, stop by The Joint for a same-day assessment and examination. No appointment is needed and wait times are typically short. Locations are even open evenings and weekends so that it's easier to fit chiropractic care into your busy schedule. 

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Flagstaff, Ariz. 

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