Frozen Shoulder and its Management in Ayurveda
Frozen shoulder, otherwise called ‘adhesive capsulitis’, is a condition that limits the free movement of the shoulder. It develops gradually as tissues around the joint become rigid & stiff, and scar tissues are formed making the movement of the shoulder extremely painful. Frozen shoulder is an occurrence most commonly seen in people between 40- 60 years old, and very specially women and people with diabetics.
Ayurvedic Understanding of Frozen shoulder
In Ayurveda, Frozen shoulder condition is referred to as ‘Ababahuka’. It is caused by the vitiation of Vata dosha, which when accumulated in the joints absorbs fluid of the joint causing the stiffness of the joint.
Ayurveda explains 2 causes for the disease, the external and internal causes. External causes refers to the inflammation of the joints due to injury or a wrong sleeping posture. Internal causes of frozen shoulder come from irregular eating habits and the consumption of excessively pungent and bitter foods.
Symptoms of Frozen Shoulder According to Ayurveda
The condition develops gradually and transpires in three stages.
1. Freezing stage – This stage can last between 6 weeks – 9 months. Any activity of your shoulder causes pain, and movements of your shoulder gets limited.
2. Frozen stage – In this particular stage, stiffness is more in comparison with the pain, infact pain may reduce. Patient may feel that the shoulder is frozen due to extreme stiffness. It can last between 4 to 6 months.
3. Thawing stage – In this stage the symptoms may come down and you can gradually see an improvement in the movements of your shoulder. This stage can typically last between 6 months to 2 years.
Management of Frozen Shoulder According to Ayurveda
Ayurveda, the ancient science of healing treats the root cause of the disease, thus the treatment for frozen shoulder aims at bringing a balance to the vitiated vata dosha. The Ayurvedic way of treating the disease ranges from holistic treatments to consuming proper nutrition, and a few changes in the lifestyle.
• Snehana: Snehana or the oleation therapy is a method to lubricate the body and is done both internally and externally. Internal application of Snehana means administering products like ghee, oil, fat, or bone marrow to manage the imbalanced vata dosha. External application of Snehana involves oil pulling, head massage or oil massage. The aim behind Snehana is the lubrication of the body systems.
• Swedana: Swedana or fomentation therapy is the use of hot or moist substances to stimulate perspiration or sweating thereby expelling the toxins and loosening the body.
• Basti: Basti is the cleansing technique wherein medicated oil and herbal decoction is given as enema to cleanse the colon. It helps in rejuvenating the body and eliminate the vata dosha.
• Nasya karma: Nasya karma refers to administering herbal medication through the nostrils to purify the head region of the patient. It helps in expelling the imbalanced doshas above the neck.
Apart from these treatments like ‘Pizhichil’, ‘Elakizhi’ are also performed to treat frozen shoulder.
Lifestyle modifications
Frozen shoulder can be kept at a distance if one takes care of his lifestyle. Practise yoga and meditate daily, engage in mild exercises to keep the shoulders moving, shower in warm/ hot water and take proper rest.
Diet to fight frozen shoulder
Consume foods that would help the body reduce vata dosha from the body and fight inflammation. Make your diet rich in oils and ghee, probiotic rich food like yogurt, fresh vegetables and fruits, and oil-rich foods like avocado, coconut, olives, buttermilk, cheese, eggs, milk, wheat, nuts and seeds.

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