I have been diagnosed with a frozen shoulder. It began four months ago and so far I have attended 14 physiotherapy sessions but my condition has not improved. Is there is a cure in Ayurveda for my problem? Name withheld on request

Frozen shoulder, also known as adhesive capsulitis, is a condition characterised by stiffness and pain in the shoulder joint. It can occur after an injury or prolonged immobilisation of the shoulder. People with other health conditions, including heart and lung disease, diabetes and hyperthyroidism, have an increased risk of developing a frozen shoulder.

Frozen shoulder typically develops slowly in three stages. Each of these stages can last several months. The stages are:


Painful: Pain occurs with any movement and your shoulder’s range of motion starts to become limited.

Frozen: Pain may begin to diminish. However, the shoulder becomes stiffer and the range of motion decreases notably.

Thawing: The range of motion beginsto improve. 

Maintaining as much range of motion as possible in your shoulder is important, but avoid extreme movements that cause pain during the frozen stage. Your physiotherapist can guide you in a comfortable range-of-motion planes in each stage. The conventional treatments include physiotherapy, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), heat or cold, corticosteroids, surgery, shoulder manipulation and electrical stimulation.

Ayurvedic external treatments include elakkizhi (a massage that uses special bundles packed with various medicinal leaves, herbal powders and spices) and ekanga dhara (a special treatment in traditional Ayurveda for aches and sprains on any particular part of the body, using medicated oils, ghee and emulsions).


Internal medications and nasya (nasal drops) are also indicated in this condition. You could try the regular application of a mixture of murivenna* and mahamasha thailam* on your shoulder followed by a hot fomentation. I recommend you have a consultation with an Ayurvedic doctor.

*Available at stores selling herbal products

If you have a question for Dr Shyam, send a mail to Wellbeing, Friday, Gulf

 News, PO Box 6519, Dubai, UAE, or fax 04 3421039. You may also email friday@gulfnews.com