Last month, Denis Mecklenburg had an opportunity to learn about the treatment of Frozen Shoulder using the renowned Niel-Asher Technique™.
He was tutored by Stuart Hinds, a leading Australian soft tissue physical therapist with over 28 years’ experience in professional practice.
What are common causes of frozen shoulder?
Frozen shoulder, also known as adhesive capsulitis, is a condition where the shoulder joint has a limited range of motion and pain is felt when exploring the range of motion of the shoulder.
The frozen shoulder cause may vary from individual to individual. Typically, the causes of frozen shoulder are mainly physiological in nature. Injuries that prevent you from moving your shoulder or make you incapable of moving your arm (such as a stroke) increase your risk of developing frozen shoulder.
Some risk factors of developing frozen shoulder include:
- Age – People who are above the age of 40 have an increased risk of developing frozen shoulder.
- Scar tissue – those who have broken their arm or strained their arm might have scar tissue around their shoulder, increasing the risk of developing frozen shoulder.
- Pre-existing diseases – People who are suffering from diseases such as diabetes, hypothyroidism and other cardiovascular-type diseases are at a higher risk of getting frozen shoulder.
If your shoulder is immobile due to physical reasons and you begin to feel pain, consider visiting a doctor for a physical exam. Your doctor may recommend imaging tests or he/she may instruct you to perform frozen shoulder exercises. Performing exercise for frozen shoulder will keep the shoulder active, reduce pain and inflammation as well as prevent the frozen shoulder from worsening.
What is the Niel-Asher Technique™?
The Niel-Asher Technique™ is a ‘natural’ method of frozen shoulder treatment that does not involve any drug or surgery. Instead, the technique uses a specific and unique sequence of manipulations and pressure points to the joints and soft-tissues of the frozen shoulder. It is a form of frozen shoulder exercise and physical therapy that seeks to reduce swelling and pain of the shoulder and regain range of motion.
In summary, it works with the body and listens 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. The technique manipulates the shoulder joint and the shoulder muscles – loosening up the shoulder capsule and joint capsule in the process. No pain is felt during this technique.
This technique has been in use since the 1990s and has been adopted and approved by medical professionals in the UK, Europe, and the United States for the treatment of frozen shoulder.
How does the Niel-Asher Technique™ differs 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). Some might also attempt to improve the range of motion by forcing the shoulder through the blockage. Depending on the context, sometimes forcing might lead to a worsening of symptoms, leading to damage on the shoulder joint or the rotator cuff.
On the other hand, the Niel-Asher Technique™ addresses the inflammation in the rotator interval and emphasizes on improving the range of motion. Results can be seen in just 1 session! However, this would depend on how long you have had the problem and which phase you are in.
At PhysioActive, we place great emphasis on continuing professional development because it ensures that our physiotherapists continue to be competent in their profession. This is also an ongoing process to ensure our quality of care to our patients!