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  • Writer's pictureYong Kang TCM

Relieve pain and stiffness with TCM practices and guided exercises

Updated: Mar 24, 2023

Frozen shoulder can significantly affect daily activities as it limits the mobility and flexibility of the affected shoulder joint. Simple tasks like reaching for an object, putting on a shirt, combing hair, or even sleeping can become difficult and painful. The pain and stiffness in the shoulder can also interfere with work, leisure activities, and exercise, leading to a decrease in overall physical function and quality of life. The condition may cause psychological distress as well, as patients may feel frustrated, anxious, or depressed due to the limitations imposed by the frozen shoulder. It is essential to seek proper medical treatment and engage in rehabilitation exercises to manage the symptoms and restore normal shoulder function.

The recovery time can vary from person to person and can be influenced by many factors such as the severity of the condition, the underlying cause, and individual health factors. However, there are several things that can be done to potentially speed up the healing process:
  1. Practice range-of-motion exercises: Exercises that improve flexibility and range of motion can help reduce pain and stiffness in the shoulder.

  2. Apply heat and cold therapy: Applying heat or cold to the shoulder can help reduce pain and inflammation.

  3. Fuyang Tou Jiu: Fuyang Tou Jiu can be a helpful TCM practice in promoting recovery from frozen shoulder. The researchers suggested that Fuyang Tou Jiu can help to increase blood flow and reduce inflammation in the shoulder joint, allowing for better movement and less pain.

  4. Tuina: Is a TCM practice that can be helpful in promoting recovery from frozen shoulder. Tuina massage therapy involves applying pressure to specific points on the body to promote circulation, reduce inflammation, and relieve muscle tension.

  5. Acupuncture and AWT (Acoustic Wave Therapy): Two TCM treatment methods that have shown promise in helping to alleviate symptoms of frozen shoulder and promote faster healing.

Acupuncture involves the insertion of thin needles into specific points in the body to stimulate energy flow and promote healing. It has been shown to effectively reduce pain and improve range of motion in patients with frozen shoulder.

AWT is a non-invasive treatment that uses sound waves to promote tissue healing, reduce inflammation, and improve blood flow in the affected area. AWT has also been found to be effective in treating frozen shoulder, especially in combination with other treatments such as physical therapy and exercise.

It's important to note that while TCM treatments like acupuncture and AWT can be helpful in treating frozen shoulder, they should be used in conjunction with other treatments prescribed by a medical professional.


It's important to note that exercise for a frozen shoulder should be done gradually and with the guidance of a healthcare professional to avoid further injury. However, here are a few exercises that can help with recovery:

  • Pendulum stretch: Stand with your unaffected arm resting on a table or chair. Gently lean forward and let your affected arm hang straight down. Use your body to sway your affected arm in a small circular motion, like a pendulum.

  • Finger walk: Stand facing a wall and place your affected hand on the wall at waist level with your fingers pointing up. Slowly walk your fingers up the wall as far as you can go without pain, and then walk them back down.

  • Towel stretch: Hold a towel behind your back with your unaffected arm and grab the other end of the towel with your affected arm. Use your unaffected arm to pull the towel up and down, stretching your affected arm.


It's important to note that while exercise can be helpful in promoting recovery from a frozen shoulder, Tuina can be a more effective TCM practice for reducing pain and stiffness in the shoulder joint. Tuina involves applying pressure to specific points on the body, including the affected shoulder and surrounding muscles, to promote circulation, reduce inflammation, and relieve muscle tension. It can help to improve range of motion and reduce pain more effectively than exercise alone.

Again, it's important to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new exercises and to start slowly and gradually increase intensity as recommended.


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