Faith Johns Osteopathy
Faith Johns Osteopathy

What is Frozen Shoulder (Adhesive Capsulitis)

Frozen Shoulder Syndrome (FSS) is a painful and debilitating condition. It is a clinical diagnosis and is only very rarely the result of an underlying illness or pathology. Frozen Shoulder is actually fairly common, affecting as many as 2-5% of the population. Frozen shoulder is somewhat of a medical enigma, for example, once it is cured it (almost) never comes back again on the same side. 

One of the main problems is that frozen shoulder syndrome is often misdiagnosed, To keep things simple most experts define it as a "a stiff shoulder with less than 50% of normal range of active and passive motion in any direction". 

The important point here is that you can’t lift the shoulder and neither can anyone else lift it for you – it is completely stiff and locked. Other conditions can cause the shoulder to stiffen but typically, only in certain directions of movement.


What causes Frozen Shoulder?

Despite the fact that Dr. Duplay first described the syndrome in the late 19th Century, the causes of frozen shoulder (or Adhesive Capsulitis) are poorly understood.

Frozen Shoulder often appears for no apparent reason (primary) but can stem from an injury to the shoulder (secondary). In our experience it tends to start with a 'tweak' in the shoulder that doesn't seem to resolve. This 'tweak' seems to occur in the region of the long head of the biceps - this is the cause of that horrible sharp “catching” pain that Frozen Shoulder sufferers will be familiar with.

How long does Frozen Shoulder last?

We generally observe four distinct phases, which - without treatment - will last an average period of 30 months. In most cases, treatment with the Niel-Asher Technique will speed up recovery by about 10 times.


Without Treatment Niel-Asher Technique™
Pre-Freezing (0-4 weeks) 1-5 Sessions
Freezing (1-8 months) 7-13 Sessions
Frozen (9-16 months) 5-8 Sessions
Thawing (12-40 months)

4-7 sessions


The Niel-Asher Technique (NAT)

The Niel-Asher Technique™ is a 'natural' method of treatment that utilizes the body's own healing mechanisms. No drugs, no surgery.

The technique uses a specific and unique sequence of manipulations and pressure points to the shoulder joints and soft-tissues. In essence, these can be thought of as 'inputs' into the nervous system.

The technique has been in use since 1997 and has been adopted and approved by Doctors, Physiotherapists, Osteopaths, and Chiropractors in the UK, Europe, and the United States.

NAT works with the body, listening to the body's wisdom - not by forcing the arm into the restricted ranges but by applying gentle stimulation to muscles whilst they are resting.


How does the NAT differ from other treatments?

Traditional approaches to the frozen shoulder either address the inflammation (steroid tablets, steroid injections and hydrodilatation) or the stiffness (physical therapy, exercise therapy and surgical manipulation). 

Physical therapies attempt to improve the range of motion by forcing the shoulder through the blockage; this in our opinion can make the condition considerably worse. 

NAT works differently. We keep the arm still whilst we apply a sequence of pressure points to specific tissues. The treatment can still be painful, especially in the early freezing phase, but it is no worse than the pain of the frozen shoulder (you will know what we mean if you have had one of those nasty spasms). 

The first few sessions of the technique initially address the inflammation in the rotator interval, after this the emphasis is on improving the range of motion. Depending how long you have had the problem and which phase you are in, results can be seen in as few as 4 sessions (range 4 -13).

The results can be dramatic and fast and the method is 'totally natural'. We believe it should be the first line of treatment before injections and or surgery.


Faith is a certified NAT practitioner and has many successes in treating patients with a frozen shoulder with this technique.


What is NAT certification?

Practitioners who train in the NAT technique may opt to complete certification through the submission of reflective learning exams. Certification is not mandatory, although preferred. You should always check with the practioner in order to confirm that he/she is experienced in the use of NAT and should always satisy yourself as to the credential, qualifications and relevant experience of any practitioner.


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