Armory, Self Defense, And EDC > Martial Arts, Unarmed Self Defense, Hand To Hand Combat, and Physical Fitness

Anyone else dealt with a frozen shoulder?

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I had Calcific Rotator Cuff Tendonitis (toothpaste like calcium deposits in the tendon) in my right shoulder for more than 5 years,....and because of the "knife-like" pain in the area the shoulder was favored and used very little,....and my range of motion dramatically reduced,....aka "frozen shoulder" was a by product.

The 17 or 18 Physical Therapy sessions I "endured" returned about 60% of the lost range of motion,.....but brought tears to my eyes as the adhesions "popped" when the Therapist would manipulate and stretch the shoulder. Horrible stuff at times!

The cortizone shots did nothing for me,....and I finally found something that worked to dissipate the calcium deposits after several months.  A web search showed a small 16 person trial where patients were given Cimetidine (Tagamet), or in my case the much cheaper generic at Wallmart.....just $5 for a month's supply. 

In the study, taking one pill twice a day removed the calcium deposits in about 62" of the patients over 90 days.  I was one of the ones it didn't work on by itself,...however.  Then my girl found a link on the internet showing that Magnesium supplements can suppress the body's creation of NEW calcium deposits. Calcium deposits result because your body is trying to rid itself of the inflammation, but apparently I was making more "new" calcium to replace whatever was being removed by the Cimetidine.

I started taking one pill twice a day of BOTH the Cimetidine and a form of Magnesium generally available at the local supermarket. I was soon to find THAT Magnesium was not the best type to take, as it has a VERY LOW absorption rate,.....and dumping whatever it contained into your system all at once but not allowing the body to get full use of it before it was "expelled" (as in diarrhea!!!!)

However,....even with the inferior Magnesium added to my regimen,....I DID notice less pain in the shoulder after a few months,......but the frequent roadside stops were betting a bit tiresome.  The pain reduction improvement encouraged me to look further....

An internet search on Magnesium revealed there is a much better "form" of Magnesium available with much higher absorption rates,.....and I bought a 3 month supply off of Amazon. It was the "Jigsaw" brand of Magnesium with "SRT" ( Sustained Release Technology).  The slower release of the Jigsaw Magnesium eliminated the diarrhea, although you do get a bit softer stool,.....but NOTHING like the cheaper form of Magnesium caused, and the higher quality malate form of magnesium is 85% absorbable!

Taken in combination,.....after about 3 months my shoulder is pain free and the range of motion almost what it was prior to the "freezing". I suspect some additional PT sessions might improve the range of motion ,....but it's just not enough of a loss to make it worthwhile to me. I suspect the PT would be breaking up long standing adhesions! NOPE,....good enough for me as is!  :-)

Note:......I am not a Doctor and you can do your own research and make your own decissions,....but I just wanted to share with everyone who may have this common issue what you might try before you go through surgery or other treatments. It worked for me, and I've heard back from a few others that it worked for them too over the last few years.

 The Cimetidine and Magnesium are Over the Counter items,.....and it was interesting the Shoulder Specialist didn't offer ANY information or guidance in the course of self treatment I eventually took.   Ummmm,....makes you wonder,.... since of course there'd be no financial gain for them if they did. :-)

Joe T

Thanks for the info! That's interesting I hadn't really investigated that side of things... In my case it was a simple matter of a weak and worn out infraspinatus, and it hadn't progressed all the way to calcifications/bursitus and such.

I'm no expert but the gist of it as I understand it is basically the "medical" types still seem to think trigger point therapy is some sort of voodoo or something, despite the massive amount of evidence supporting it. Maybe they just don't understand the level of damage that can be caused by a constantly contracted muscle, since they hone in on one single problem (symptom) so closely they completely fail to see the bigger picture? That is, that when all the muscles involved in shoulder movement completely lock up and prevent proper functioning due to some sort of injury or whatever it may be to one area, resulting in a domino effect as all the other muscles try to compensate and fail in turn, the constant tension can cause all sorts of problems like painful inflammation and hardening of the joint lubrication sacks.

They (the doctors) only seem to understand "well we've got these hardened sacks building up here, lets try and force movement until they break down, and if that doesn't work cut them out!" Except those calcifications? (again not an expert - just relating info I picked up second hand) happen in the lubricant sacks between joints and such, so if you "cut them out" you ruin the joint or area of friction permanently, as it will never be able to be properly "greased" again, and the victim ends up with a no longer frozen, but annoyingly painful shoulder for the rest of their lives, and even if it doesn't get that level of "treatment", forcing movement through physical therapy to try and break down the hardness doesn't treat the root cause of the problem - which from my understanding is overworked muscles/tendons.

joejeweler, the reason I post this little "rant" is because the treatment you've been through pretty much matches exactly what the massage therapist that fixed me said is the "typical" medical "treatment" for this sort of thing... and far too many people go down that road when the problem (typically) can be solved by simple trigger point therapy...
That said, most run of the mill massage therapists are not qualified for this sort of thing (I went through quite a few of them), the guy I found is usually booked out 5 months or so, and for good reason. In my case the root problem was a VERY hardened infraspinatus tendon (right where it turns into a tendon and connects to the bone) and the solution was basically to rub the hell out of it until blood started flowing again, then the rest was just releasing all the surrounding trigger points and strengthening the rotator cuffs (strengthening being the most difficult part). I'm still in awe at how such a stupid little thing can be the cause of such major problems!

Disclaimer: all I've just said is my interpretation of information I have assimilated throughout my shoulder ordeal, from the people that helped fix it for me... I'm not "educated" in any traditional medical studies or anything of the sort and could be completely wrong about everything I've stated, and I've also had a homebrew or two while typing this  ;D


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