With all of the treatments out there for frozen shoulder, sometimes I get asked about massage and whether it is a good treatment for frozen shoulder sufferers. The answer to this question is a resounding “yes.” While the patient still needs to incorporate other treatment protocols into their program, massage is an excellent tool to help eliminate frozen shoulder. In fact, any program that does not have a soft-tissue component to it, is lacking in my opinion.
Massage techniques, when done correctly, help to work on soft-tissue restrictions that have developed in and around the shoulder. There are many different massage techniques that can and will help loosen up the soft-tissue limitations, increase range of motion, eliminate pain and bring back normal function to the shoulder. Combining good soft-tissue work with strengthening, range of motion exercises, and a good stretching program is the key to long term and fast success with frozen shoulder.
Muscles, tendons, ligaments, and other connective tissue are all part of the soft-tissue that surrounds a joint. When someone is suffering from frozen shoulder, some and many times all of this soft-tissue becomes tight, forming contractures, spasms, knots and other restrictions that limit range of motion, cause pain and decrease function. Working on these areas with targeted massage techniques is a sure way to speed up the recovery of frozen shoulder. It is important to always incorporate some kind of soft tissue work into the frozen shoulder program to address these issues. Massage is a great way to do this. It is important however, to make sure the massage therapist understands frozen shoulder and what to work on and why. Many people have learned how to perform their own soft-tissue work in the comfort of their own home pretty easily with the same good outcomes.