Thaw Frozen Shoulder with Spinal Adjustments

Perhaps you've always known you have a stiff shoulder, but suddenly, as you've grown older, that soreness is starting to interfere with your daily life and ability to sleep.

Frozen shoulder syndrome (FSS) is a common condition among middle-aged adults, especially women. The condition occurs when the capsule around the shoulder joint tightens and thickens, restricting the range of motion in the ligaments, bones, and tendons of the shoulder. This "freezing" develops gradually over time, and can cause significant pain and sleep disturbances.

Studies show that chiropractic spinal adjustments and exercise therapy can ease symptoms in patients with frozen shoulder syndrome. One recent study evaluated the effects of manipulation under anesthesia, combined with additional exercise therapy, in treating FSS.

Manipulation under anesthesia (MUA) is a non-invasive procedure involving spinal adjustments and soft-tissue therapies performed by a chiropractor or qualified physician. Like any type of chiropractic spinal adjustment, MUA is considered a safe, effective way to alleviate joint and spinal pain.

The study included 18 patients with FSS who received one session of MUA, along with additional exercise therapies. Researchers compared active range of motion and isometric maximal voluntary contraction of the muscles in the affected and unaffected shoulders. Range of motion was evaluated during shoulder flexion, adduction, and internal and external rotation. One month after treatment, the patients had a 27-37% improvement in active range of motion in all movements. Six months later, these improvements were sustained for adduction and internal rotation, but not for external rotation or flexion. Still, the patients had significant reductions in pain scores at both the one-month and six-month follow-ups.

Before MUA, patients average daytime pain score was 6.1 and nighttime pain score was 6.1. After MUA, the average pain score was 0.8 by day and 1.6 by night. Patients also had substantial improvements in isometric shoulder strength.

These findings add to earlier research demonstrating the safety and effectiveness of chiropractic treatments for frozen shoulder syndrome.


Sokk J, et al. Shoulder muscle isometric strength and active range of motion in patients with frozen shoulder after manipulation under anesthesia 2013; Clinical Investigations 2012; 48(7): 331-7.