Fred, a healthy, active business owner in his early 70’s, injured his shoulder at work while lifting something heavy. Like many of us do, he hoped this injury would resolve on it’s own. However, after a few weeks, he realized it wasn’t solving itself. While the pain had subsided, he was left with extremely limited range of motion in his shoulder. And this was a significant negative impact on Fred’s working life and his much beloved outdoor activities.
An ultrasound of Fred’s shoulder showed a complete tear in one of the rotator cuff tendons, some smaller tears in the other rotator cuff tissues, and significant inflammation. He had seen several specialists, and was told he was not a surgical candidate. So he tried other treatments, including physiotherapy, but his shoulder was still not improving. One day a friend told Fred about Solaj and Cold Laser Therapy. And how it helped him to heal his own chronic shoulder condition.
When Fred came to Solaj, his shoulder movement was very limited. He could not raise his arm forward past 90 degrees (parallel to the ground). And he could not raise it to the side past 45 degrees. This made working difficult, since he could no longer perform important activities. Like climbing up a ladder or reaching the controls on the roof of his truck. Even a simple task like putting on and taking off shirts had become very difficult. Kayaking, and his favorite sport golfing, had become impossible.
All of these problems happened, because Fred had developed frozen shoulder. Which in turn was a result of the rotator cuff tears. Because in response to his original injury, his body had produced a lot of internal scar tissue. Right after an injury, this internal scar tissue can be very good to prevent over-stressing the damaged area, since it restricts motion in that area. And with less motion, the original injury has a chance to heal. Ideally, the body dissolves the internal scar tissue soon after the original injury. And normal range of motion returns to the affected area. However, if internal scar tissue stays around, the initial benefit becomes a chronic problem. And this was the case with Fred.
Given the chronic nature of his condition and the extent to which Fred’s shoulder was restricted, Doctor Mel let him know that it would likely be a long road to healing, likely requiring many treatments over several months. And because of his torn tendon, he should expect that one particular motion, raising his arm to the side and overhead, may not ever fully return to normal. Fred expressed his readiness to take on the challenge to improve the range of motion in his shoulder. Doctor Mel recommended a combination of Cold Laser Therapy and Active Release Technique, a manual soft tissue therapy.
Fred Experiences Frozen Shoulder Treatments
Fred had a total of 25 Cold Laser Therapy treatments, and 20 chiropractic soft tissue treatments, over a period of about 6 months. He started with two Cold Laser treatments per week for four weeks, then continued with one treatment per week for 15 weeks, then one treatment every two weeks for 4 weeks. Throughout this process, Fred also had one soft tissue treatment per week.
To learn more, visit our pages about
Cold Laser Therapy for Frozen Shoulder and Active Release Techniques
After just four Cold Laser and two soft tissue treatments, Fred already started to experience slight improvements in his range of motion. He reported that he was able to swing his golf club with more ease. After 10 Cold Laser and five soft tissue treatments, Fred was able to dress more easily. And he could finally reach the controls on the roof of his truck. That progress encouraged him.
A friendly email from Fred:
“Hello Doctor Mel.
I have been doing well and quite busy with work this season. I am pleased to tell you that my shoulder has not been a concern. I can raise my arm to about 170 degrees with little effort. Considering the extent of damage to my shoulder I am quite satisfied with the result of the cold laser treatment and your expert handling.
I have no difficulty paddling a kayak and my golf swing is almost back to normal. Thanks to you and cold laser therapy. I do not mind your using my images in your marketing materials. I hope more people will realize the benefits of the treatment.
After 15 Cold Laser and 10 soft tissue treatments, Fred decided to test out his shoulder and go kayaking for the first time since his shoulder injury. To his delight, he was able to kayak for two hours. Although he felt a bit of discomfort because he hadn’t challenged his shoulder in years, he was thrilled that he was able to do it. Over the next several weeks, Fred’s shoulder continued to improve.
At his last treatment and final assessment, Fred was able to raise his arm straight overhead, and was able to resume the activities he couldn’t do prior to starting treatment. He was very satisfied with the results he achieved, and sent us a friendly email 10 months after his last treatment.