Pain and stiffness of the shoulder joint is an extremely common complaint. Acupuncture gives excellent results in both acute and chronic cases. One morning a couple weeks ago I was getting out of bed in the morning and realized that I could not move my left arm or shoulder. Since it was a workday for me I got dressed and into work hoping I could get a couple treatments from associates of mine. Within a half hour a friend of mine was at work and I asked her to give me a treatment. Twenty years ago I had a shoulder problem in acupuncture school and my Chinese teacher did a point on my lower leg and had me constantly move my arm and shoulder as she stimulated the needle. Even though it was painful it seemed to work.


My friend knew these points and did this for about fifteen minutes although she said I had frozen shoulder and it would probably take three months to heal. After this treatment I was about 50% better. In looking at the diagnosis there are a few things, which stood out. About two weeks ago I had gotten some rock for my driveway and I spent about two hours laying this out. The constant repetition of movement involving the shoulder joint creates stagnation of Qi in the shoulder. Also accidents can predispose the shoulder joint to local stagnation of blood as well as cold contracting the muscles and sinews and therefore creating pain and stiffness. I realized that the combination of laying the rock in the cold weather along with the repetition of movement was probably what caused the frozen shoulder to occur.


In Chinese medicine the shoulder joint has to do with three channels running through it. The Large Intestine channel is on the front of the shoulder. The difficulty in this channel would be if you couldn’t raise your arm sideways from your waist up to your shoulder. The Lung channel would be a problem if you couldn’t touch your other shoulder and cross over. In this case the acupuncture would also include some lung point with the treatment. The third problem would be a Small Intestine channel if you couldn’t move your hand to your back and touch your scapula. This scapula-humeral joint is involved a lot with shoulder pain and limitation of movement.


Later on in the day another friend of mine gave me a balancing treatment with all of these organs and I got up after the treatment with hardly no pain at all. Some of my movements were a bit limited. During this entire process I took a Chinese formula every hour and also put liniment on my shoulder five times during the day to move the Qi and Blood. The following day I received two more treatments and by the end of the day I was entirely healed.


I realized in two days I had received five treatments and a lot of herbs but it were all worth it since I didn’t have the frozen shoulder for three months and was totally healed. The two people who had frozen should did not move their shoulder for months so the stagnation continued to build. It is always good to get treatments right away so that things don’t linger.

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