Frozen shoulder

What is a frozen shoulder?

Frozen shoulder, also known as adhesive capsulitis of the shoulder, is a condition that leads to stiffness and pain in the shoulder joints. The pain and stiffness in some individuals, appear to last for a number of months and are characterised by increasing stiffness. 

This injury is very often and can impact everyday living such as lifting weights, reaching high and behind for objects, doing housework, and restriction in arm and shoulder movement. Yet, the good thing about the frozen shoulder is that it is curable and symptoms will gradually be reduced with medication, exercise therapy, and acupuncture treatments!

What causes it?

The main cause of a frozen shoulder and restriction in movement is by inflammation in the shoulder capsule. In the capsule, there are ligaments that hold the shoulder bones together, and function as an important and manipulable “band” to allow movement from the shoulder to the arm. However, when the capsule is inflamed, this capsule becomes very thick and tight around the shoulder joint, and the bones now become difficult to move, leading to stiffness and pain in the area.

Frozen shoulder

One of the most common causes of a frozen shoulder is the recovery from surgery. For example, women who had a small/big surgery for breast cancer, and are in the recovery period, can experience a frozen shoulder. Other inflammations can be caused by injury of the arm or a long period of lack of movement and exercise. Other risk factors such as:

  • Age
  • Gender (more likely in women)
  • Broken arm
  • Rotator cuff injury
  • Diabetes
  • hyper/hypothyroidism
  • Cardiovascular diseases
  • stroke
  • Parkinson’s disease
Frozen shoulder treatment with acupuncture

At Ponsonby Wellness Centre, accident-caused shoulder injuries are covered by ACC. Our practitioner has a wide range of knowledge on shoulder/neck pain and will offer the best treatment plan that is available to every patient. 

Treating shoulder pain and stiffness can be relieved from acupuncture. Acupuncture stimulates the location of specific muscles and tissues in a safe and effective way, targeting the shoulder area (both front and back). This allows adequate blood flow to the area, allowing more nutrients to be delivered to the inflamed capsule and reduce inflammation, as well as healing damaged and torn muscle tissue. Sometimes, distal acupuncture points are also targeted and triggered, such as in the leg, gluteus, under the arm, and forearm.

Natural healing and non-toxic anti-inflammatory medication as treatment

Initially, patients with frozen shoulders are treated with anti-inflammatory medication such as aspirin, ibuprofen or naproxen. Our clinic also offers our ancestors Chinese traditional herbal medicine that treats inflammation of the shoulder capsule, as well as inside the body as a whole. From tongue and pulse reading in the most traditional way, patients receive specific prescriptions of a mixture of herbs, that will specifically target the patient’s need and help nourish the body in the most natural way, to reduce inflammation, as well as allow Qi and circulation within the body to improve.

Read more about Chinese traditional herbal medicine here.

Other treatment options in combination

The traditional treatment can also be accompanied by a wide range of motion exercises that will be suggested by our practitioner that are appropriate for your body’s condition. Additionally, our practitioner will also suggest plans for diet, food you can/cannot eat to reduce inflammation, in combination with treatment sessions and potential use for herbal tea.

Contact Us

For more information, you can:

Read more about pain relief and neck/shoulder pain

You can also book an appointment with our expertise acupuncturist here

Contact us via:

phone number: 021 2159963

email address:

Our Location

43A Brown St,


Auckland 1021

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Ponsonby Wellness Centre
Contact Us

Phone: 021 2159963
57 Sussex St, Grey Lynn, Auckland 1021

Opening Hours

Tue- Fri: 10am- 7pm

Sat: 9am-3pm

Sun, Mon - CLOSED