I have been suffering from frozen shoulder for some time. I exercise regularly but have not noticed any improvement. Can ayurveda help my condition?

Frozen shoulder, also known as adhesive capsulitis, is a condition characterised by stiffness and pain in the shoulder joint. Signs and symptoms typically begin gradually, worsen over time and then resolve, usually within one to three years.

Frozen shoulder occurs when the connective tissue capsule surrounding the joint thickens, tightens and restricts its movement. Frozen shoulder can occur after an injury or prolonged immobilisation of the shoulder.

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Rotator cuff injury, broken arm, stroke or immobilisation after a surgery can lead to a frozen shoulder. People with other health conditions including diabetes, heart disease, lung disease and hyperthyroidism may have an increased risk of developing frozen shoulder. Frozen shoulder typically develops slowly, and in three stages. Each of these stages can last a number of months:

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

Frozen stage: Pain reduces; shoulder becomes stiffer and range of motion decreases.

Thawing stage: Range of shoulder movements begins to improve.

Ayurveda terms frozen shoulder as Apabahuka, which is a vata and kapha imbalance. There are several internal medications and external treatments that are effective for frozen shoulder. 
An ayurvedic physician will be able to prescribe the right therapies to suit your body type and condition.

Applying warm sesame oil or coconut oil mixed with camphor can give pain relief. Warm compress with the aid of a hot towel can also help. The relief is generally slow-paced.

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Intake of 3-4 cloves of garlic, crushed and boiled with half a glass of milk is a simple kitchen remedy you can try; be cautious of garlic intake if you suffer from gastritis or inflammation of digestive system.

Consuming a teaspoon of sesame oil with warm water in the morning may also help.

Maintaining as much range of motion as possible in your shoulder is important. However, avoid extreme movements that cause pain during frozen stage.

Dr V L Shyam is a Dubai-based Ayurveda practitioner