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Frozen Shoulder - A potential breakthrough

Where Does Frozen Shoulder Hurt

Is Frozen Shoulder Painful?

Frozen shoulder is a poorly understood condition. Those unlucky enough to experience this condition will suffer for months, and more likely years, with pain and limited range of motion with very little relief. The current rate of incidence of frozen shoulder is 4-6%. That means in a city with 1 million people like Calgary, there are roughly 40-60,000 people suffering with this problem.1

Frozen Shoulder is considered an idiopathic condition, which is the medical way of saying "we don’t know why it happens". In fact, Dr. T.D. Bunker, a prominent member of the Royal College of Surgeons of England says this of the condition: "200 years later, there are very few diseases within the specialty of orthopaedic surgery which remain an enigma, but frozen shoulder is surely the most enigmatic of them all".2

Patients experience a sudden or gradual loss of shoulder range of motion coupled with moderate to severe pain in the upper 1/3 of the affected arm. They often have difficulty sleeping or even performing simple daily tasks like grooming, dressing or household chores. While the condition is commonly considered self-limiting taking months or years to resolve, upwards of 50% of sufferers continue to experience pain, stiffness and/or reduced range of motion 7-10 years later. 3

Will Frozen Shoulder Heal Itself

The current western medical model contends that for reasons unknown, adhesions develop in the capsule of the shoulder which create painful restriction of motion. As such, the array of treatments available for the condition all focus on the shoulder and attempt to control inflammation in the joint while forcibly restoring range. Unfortunately, when people use these various shoulder focused treatment methods they don’t get better any faster than the people who refuse treatment.4 Astonishingly, the treatment recommended by a large percentage of health care providers is called ‘supervised neglect’.

Can Frozen Shoulder be Cured

While current conservative treatment options are limited, there is some real hope on the horizon. There is a promising new treatment option for people with frozen shoulder. Dr. Francis Murphy, a chiropractor from Texas, came up with a theory about what frozen shoulder is and how it is actually caused. Based on his insight that the condition was actually neurological in origin, he designed a specific chiropractic treatment (OTZ) for the neck, aimed at removing the crucial neurological interference that is causing the painful and limiting condition.5

When these new treatment methods are applied, patients often experience an immediate improvement in the range of motion and reduction in pain levels. These treatments are currently available at our Momentum Health Westbrook location where data on Frozen Shoulder is being collected for research.

For more information on this condition and to see actual patient footage from before and immediately after the treatments go to

Dr. Denis Simons – Chiropractor, Clinic Director

Dr. Denis Simons graduated from Western States Chiropractic College in Portland, Oregon in March of 2000, where he received several awards of distinction. Dr. Simons moved to Calgary in the spring of 2000. He owned and operated Penny Lane Chiropractic and Health in the downtown core from 2001 until 2006 when he joined the Advantage Health group of clinics. An avid and once competitive skier, Dr. Simons spent many years as a volunteer on the Lake Louise Ski Patrol and competed in several Big Mountain Competitions. For several years he enjoyed the opportunity to work and travel with the Canadian National Snowboarding team, treating several Olympic medalists along the way. His reputation consistently has travelling musicians and athletes requesting treatments as their travels bring them through Calgary.Dr. Simons continually attends seminars and courses to make sure he has the most current and relevant information and techniques. As a diversified chiropractic practitioner he utilizes manual chiropractic adjusting techniques, home exercise, and various soft tissue and stretching techniques to help his patients achieve their healthcare and wellness goals. Being a part of the multi-disciplinary team at Momentum Health allows him to refer and co-treat with physiotherapists, registered massage therapists, acupuncturists, naturopathic doctors and psychologists. As an OTZ trained chiropractor Dr. Denis Simons has been trained in the new groundbreaking chiropractic treatments for Frozen Shoulder Syndrome (aka Adhesive Capsulitis). This new treatment approach is providing sufferers of FSS often immediate and dramatic results.

  1. The natural history of the frozen shoulder syndrome.Reeves, AU., Scand J Rheumatol. 1975;4(4):193-6.
  2. Frozen Shoulder: Unravelling the Enigma. Bunker, TD. Ann R Coll Surg Engl. 1997 May;79(3):210-3.
  3. Frozen Shoulder. Diaz, R. et al. J Bone Joint Surg Br Vol 92(9):1267–1272
  4. The effectiveness of interventions in the management of patients with primary frozen shoulder. Rookmoneea M et al., J Bone Joint Surg Br. 2010 Sep;92(9):1267-72
  5. Chiropractic management of frozen shoulder syndrome using a novel technique: a retrospective case series of 50 patients. Murphy FX,. J Chiropr Med. 2012 Dec;11(4):267-72