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  • Frozen shoulder: chiropractor, osteopath or physio?
  • Premier Icon TrailriderJim
    Full Member

    Shouldered a tree about eight weeks ago and at the time felt little pain or after-effects. But over the last three or four weeks the pain has increased. Now I can’t lift my arm above my head and any stretching risks very sharp pain followed by a prolonged aching. The most difficulty I have is trying to wash my other arm in the shower. So, I’ve booked some treatment with a local highly-rated osteopath. Local GP can’t see me and NHS physio is running a very restricted service. I’m just wondering whether I’ve taken the wrong option instead of private physio or a chiropractor.

    Premier Icon boblo
    Free Member

    Curious. What exactly is a “frozen shoulder’? Had one diagnosed after months 9f NHS, faffing (there’s a pandemic dontchaknow…) and its taken a year to get ~90% better on its own…

    Premier Icon rossburton
    Full Member

    Chiropractic is mostly woo (and potentially dangerous woo), the bits that are not are just standard physio. Osteopathy is less woo. Physiotherapy is what happens when you actually use science and reasoning on muscles/joints.

    Premier Icon swedishmatt
    Free Member

    You book a private physio. Forget osteopaths and chiropractors.

    Premier Icon jobro
    Free Member

    Could be Rotator Cuff injury. A physio will give you exercises to strengthen the area but you may need something like steroid injection. Maybe try your GP first? Although I don’t expect referral to Orthopods will be quick!

    Premier Icon MoreCashThanDash
    Full Member

    Chiropractors I’ve never understood.

    My osteopath is great for spinal problems and back pain, but was useless when I did my shoulder last year.

    I ended up seeing a physio who pointed out the blindingly obvious issue with my shoulder, and freed it up over 3-4 fortnightly sessions, with me doing a couple of daily exercise sessions at home, but it still took 6-9 months before my shoulder felt normal, though a recent flare up has shown that I can’t stop doing the exercises to keep it loose and moving

    Premier Icon singlespeedstu
    Full Member

    OK that didn’t work.
    Get yourself booked in to see a physio.
    Oh and welcome to the club…
    Think its going to be a long old road to recovery.

    Physio Advice

    Premier Icon globalti
    Free Member

    I had a severely frozen shoulder after my clavicle break. I had an arthroscopic capsular release operation under anaesthesia to free it, which worked but needed me to persevere with the physio exercises. A year later I have full ROM but the joint is a bit cranky.

    Premier Icon globalti
    Free Member

    I had a severely frozen shoulder after my clavicle break. I had an arthroscopic capsular release operation under anaesthesia to free it, which worked but needed me to persevere with the physio exercises. A year later I have full ROM but the joint is a bit cranky.

    For the pain paracetamol is your friend, 1gm 4 x a day. A much under-rated drug, very good if taken regularly so as not to let the level drop. Keep notes of times.

    Premier Icon Marin
    Free Member

    For pain issues and recovery acupuncture. I know I know I was a complete sceptic when I had a trapped nerve in my shoulder and tennis elbow as a free bonus pain. Private physio recommended it to me and it was almost a miracle cure after 6 months of pain bad enough to pull my van over in the day and have a small cry at the side of the road. Doesn’t work for everyone but worth a punt.

    Premier Icon mulv1976
    Free Member

    I’m a chiropractor and have seen a fair few shoulder injuries in my time, but have to say that (most) private physios have more experience with peripheral soft tissue complaints than chiros and you’d be best to get their opinion. It’s nothing to do with being evidence based either, it’s just what they see more often. If it is true frozen shoulder, it’ll take some work and time, mostly on your part.

    Not to get into a chiro vs osteo vs physio debate (as that’s what these posts tend to degrade into), but theres good and bad in all camps. I’ve heard plenty of horror tales of patient management from all sides so don’t tend to go there. A half decent chiro should be evidence based which means a combination of clinical experience and diagnostic skills, physio/soft tissue techniques, advice and exercises PLUS thoracic/CT manipulation/mobilisation for rib/scap/spinal function as necessary.

    Premier Icon Spud
    Full Member

    I injured my shoulder stretching when I got home after a transatlantic flight and train journey back home. Took a good while to get it sorted eventually semi-private consultant and physio at the hospital and my regular chiropractor sorted it out. There was talk initally of operating on the tendon, but injection, lots of very good physio and chiropractic sorted it, on top of me doing lots of work in the gym on it following advice. The last surgeon who saw me (why they swapped I don’t know), said I ought to be happy with 60% movement back, now have 100%, as others have said it’s a long haul but with the right advice it can be sorted out. And question to the OP, assume you haven’t had it diagnosed as a frozen shoulder, all the advice I had was that they take a lot of time to occur, so getting it sorted early is key. Good luck with it.

    Premier Icon finishthat
    Full Member

    Shoulder is most complicated joint in the body , I would push GP for referral to your nearest hospital shoulder unit, can just google nhs shoulder unit.

    Premier Icon johnx2
    Free Member

    It’s nothing to do with being evidence based

    Evidence determines whether a health intervention is effective or not. Otherwise it’s all “well it worked for me” anecdote helped by regression to the mean (as in most things either heal or bump along getting better then worse then better. You see someone when things are worse, they get the credit for them getting better).

    But it’s not just evidence that makes a good practitioner. There’s being perceptive to work out what’s wrong, decide on the right exercise regime (or otherwise – surgery and drugs have a place) for a given individual, inspiring confidence so that patients actually do what’s prescribed etc, and knowing what a realistic good outcome is for a given individual. Lots of this is down to experience and personal qualities (even if what is ‘prescribed’ is based on non-science obvious bollocks).

    Premier Icon slowoldman
    Full Member

    If you can’t see your GP then a physio. My frozen shoulder turned out to be adhesive capsulitis which required surgery (capsular release).

    Premier Icon 5plusn8
    Free Member

    A good physio is your best bet, the other two are fundamentally based on junk science, and most osteo and chiro effectively do physio now, but haven’t had anywhere near as comprehensive training
    I use a private one, its 48quid and I’ve never had to go back for the same issue.
    Look for local reviews or ask mates.
    Note a US Dr of Osteopathy is not the same as a Uk osteopath read this for illumination. (https://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Osteopathy)

    https://edzardernst.com/2018/04/chiropractic-a-truly-remarkable-and-excellent-review-by-chiropractors/
    https://edzardernst.com/2019/08/what-do-chiropractors-do-they-exploit-the-healthy-and-wealthy/
    https://edzardernst.com/2020/02/so-what-is-chiropractic/
    https://edzardernst.com/tag/osteopathy/
    https://edzardernst.com/2018/11/osteopathy-not-all-its-cracked-up-to-be/

    Note this in bold below is known as poisoning the well and is a well known logical fallacy:

    Not to get into a chiro vs osteo vs physio debate (as that’s what these posts tend to degrade into)

    If you familiarise yourselves with logical fallacies then you’ll work out why physio is real and osteo/chiro are not.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poisoning_the_well
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_fallacies

    This is great resource.
    https://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Main_Page

    Premier Icon w00dster
    Full Member

    Long time sufferer here. Former rugby league player, had a lot of shoulder injuries and have had frozen shoulder for approx 5 years.
    I’ve done NHS referrals to a physio, absolute waste of time. More than a year wasted going down that route. Makes me angry thinking back about the pain and the lack of guidance from the NHS.
    I’ve done the physio with just using ibuprofen and paracetamol for pain killers, did that for about 3 months but couldn’t tolerate the pain. I had so little movement it was just to unbearable.
    I have since paid for the hydro-distension and corticosteroid injections. The at enabled me to then do physio, the pain relief was almost instant. I could sleep again, dress myself without the agony of trying to pull a t shirt over my head. It’s expensive but honestly it’s the only thing that I find that works for me. My physio has stopped, did 1 month of paid physio (once a week), but continue the exercise. The pain is still there, but it’s immensely improved. I’ll be returning for another injection towards the end of the year. I think it’ll be two injections a year for me for the rest of my life. Some people seem to recover from just the physio where others need to continue with physio and pain relief.

    Premier Icon Drac
    Full Member

    Physio would gave you excellent advice and treatment on a shoulder. Don’t bother with chiropractors ever.

    Premier Icon singlespeedstu
    Full Member

    woodster.
    Where did you get the injection done privatley please?

    Premier Icon w00dster
    Full Member

    https://www.blackberryclinic.co.uk/
    Highly recommended. Injections and physio at the same place. I’d only ever used NHS physio before and was very sceptical about how they would improve things. But after the injections gave me the pain relief, we were able to work on the frozen shoulder and the other muscles/tendons that had been damaged whilst trying to protect the shoulder.
    Initial appointment is with a doctor who will determine the best steps, injection type if necessary and then the notes go to the physio.

    Premier Icon singlespeedstu
    Full Member

    Thanks.
    Might give them a shot if i don’t make any more progress on my own.

    Premier Icon porter_jamie
    Full Member

    i hurt my left shoulder which then became frozen, and if i moved it in the wrong way i would be on the floor crying it was that bad.

    went to a local physio and he sorted it out, took a few goes but fixed it. i also bought a main powered massager thing and that seemed to help too

    Premier Icon timmys
    Full Member

    If you’d happily go to a witch doctor then consider a chiropractor or osteopath.

    Otherwise go to a physio or actual doctor.

    Premier Icon TrailriderJim
    Full Member

    Thanks all. Binned off the osteo and booked some private physio sessions with my local Nuffield hospital. Some great insight and advice above.

    Premier Icon tall_martin
    Full Member

    Good choice!

    Several of my mates have been seeing osteopaths on and off for 25 years plus for back injuries.

    My wife is a phiso and none of her client from 3 years ago when she started he own buisness are still coming back for the same injury.

    Same for the rest of her self employed phiso mates.

    Premier Icon johnx2
    Free Member

    ^^^
    Yeah – important point. You’d think it’d be in their financial interest to keep you coming back, though I guess they’re not short of business. But in my experience it’s usually a session or two to assess, perhaps massage a bit and teach you exercises, and maybe a third to see how it’s going if you feel you need it. And that’s it.

    I’ve had physio for v occasional shoulder and back issues over the years, paying privately as it’s frankly money well spent to get seen right away. I’m a huge NHS supporter, which is where all private physios will have trained and may well retain day-jobs, but I tend to advise folks I know to just pay the money.

    Premier Icon peteimpreza
    Full Member

    This

    “Chiropractic is mostly woo (and potentially dangerous woo), the bits that are not are just standard physio. Osteopathy is less woo. Physiotherapy is what happens when you actually use science and reasoning on muscles/joints.”

    Or this

    “If you’d happily go to a witch doctor then consider a chiropractor or osteopath.

    Otherwise go to a physio or actual doctor.”

    Premier Icon b33k34
    Full Member

    If you’re looking for a physio I can’t recommend Anne Dickins highly enough. A cyclist (and gold medal winning para-canoeist) so fully understands that ‘don’t ride your bike’ is not one of the options.

    She’s doing consultations over Zoom as well.

    Premier Icon Bunnyhop
    Free Member

    When I had a frozen shoulder, my GP offered 3 types of treatment. Slow recovery with lots of physio exercises. Or an operation. Or a procedure under anesthetic to release the shoulder using force.

    I chose the slow option with physio. Also had a cortisone injection a few months in, which didn’t work, but another cortisone injection months later did the trick.

    In all it was just under two years to recover properly.

    Have you thought of hydrotherapy? It’s physio in a very warm pool.

    Premier Icon tjagain
    Full Member

    A good chiropractor should be evidence based

    As there is no evidence base for chiropractic then by logic you have admitted there are no good ones

    Premier Icon globalti
    Free Member

    As I posted above, an op under anaesthetic sorted mine. After that daily sessions of self-inflicted pain put me right.

    I did try physio in the early days but it did nothing for me.

    Premier Icon ultrasound
    Free Member

    Frozen shoulder is a diagnosis of exclusion and your history does not seem typical. Seeing a physio especially an extended scope one seems the best bet. A scan to rule out a cuff tear first would be best then it maybe you need treatment for impingement etc.

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