Frozen shoulder – what is it and what to do about it

Have you been diagnosed with frozen shoulder? Here is a brief summary on what it is, what to expect, and what can be done about it.

What is Frozen Shoulder?

Frozen shoulder, or adhesive capsulitis, is a poor and exaggerated response by the body to an injury to the shoulder.  It is unknown what causes it, but it is more prevalent in women, if you’re in your middle ages, and in those with diabetes.  There are 3 stages to this nasty condition:

Freezing stage: this stage can last weeks to months.  The capsule around the shoulder starts to stiffen and scar and you lose significant movement in the shoulder.  It is also very painful during this stage!

Frozen stage: again, this stage can last for months.  During this stage, the shoulder becomes less painful, but it is still very limited in movement.

Thawing stage: the shoulder begins to settle in pain and stiffness.  Finally, you will be able to regain some function to your shoulder.

How to Treat Frozen Shoulder?

During the freezing stage, anti-inflammatories and/or a corticosteroid injection may help to settle the pain and irritation.  During the frozen stage, you guessed it, physical therapy, can be started to get the shoulder stronger and moving again.  During the thawing stage you will get the most gains from physical therapy.  It is important you get hands on physical therapy.  This article shows that joint mobilizations in addition to exercise is far superior in regaining your range of motion and function than exercises alone.  You will be in good hands at our clinic, as during every session you will receive hands on treatment to massage and stretch tight muscles and tissues, mobilizations to your shoulder and shoulder blade, and perhaps acupuncture or dry needling to treat your pain and trigger points.

Please contact our clinic if you have any further questions or would like to book an appointment.

Torn ACL? Surgery may NOT be the answer!

I recently attended a talk on ACL injuries in the knee and whether surgery was necessarily the best option for treatment.  The key points from the talk were:

  • Managing expectations is always the key – it is important to realize that you may not get your old knee back with surgery!  Even with surgery, you may not be able to return to sports like before. Post ACL repair there is also a high risk for re-injury of the ACL again; in females it is in the opposite knee, and in males the same injured knee.
  • After 5 weeks of physical therapy rehab post injury, you’ll have a good indication of how your knee will recover.  It is possible to return to high level sports with torn ACL’s!
  • Delaying surgery up to 6 months post injury may be more beneficial, as this allows time for the inflammation to settle and the knee to recover in strength prior to deciding whether surgery is required.  A recent long term study showed that after 2 years, there were few differences in knee function and return to high level sports in those who had surgery versus those who did not.

So the take home message is that physical therapy is important post ACL injury.  Physical therapy may be all that you need to regain your function!

Attached are 2 articles that were discussed at the talk:


For more information, you can contact Janice at The Grange Clinic at 780-756-3535

Hot stone massage now offered at The Grange clinic

Therapeutic hot stones provide an excellent way to relax your body while simultaneously soothing sore, overworked muscles.  The benefits include improved flexibility and circulation.

We use hot stones to glide over the body, allowing heat to penetrate deep into the muscles without the need of deep pressure.

Please see our massage therapy page for more information:

To book an appointment, please contact our Grange clinic at 780-756-3535 and ask to book an appointment with massage therapist  Emily Ahlf.

Do you suffer from headaches or migraines?

Did you know that physical therapy, acupuncture, and massage therapy can all help treat headaches or migraines?

First, here is an overview of the more common types of headaches:

Tension headaches:

this is the most common type of headache and is usually felt as mild, steady, dull pain on both sides of the head

Migraine headaches:

a recurring headache that is often moderate to severe in pain, and is often felt as a pounding or throbbing pain to usually just one side of the head. It can be accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and/or sensitivities to light and sound

Cluster headaches:

the least common, it is usually the most severe and is felt as a stabbing pain behind one eye

The key to treatment is to figure out the cause of your headache. With tension headaches, physical therapy, acupuncture, and massage therapy are all effective ways to release tight and spastic muscles causing your headache. Physical therapists can also assess if a specific joint in your neck may be causing the muscle tension, thereby leading to the headache.

Migraines are believed to be caused by altered circulation to your head. In traditional Oriental medicine, the thought is there is a blockage in your energy flow, or your Qi (pronounced “chi”), in your head and neck. Acupuncture and specifically Shiatsu (or “finger pressure”) massage can help address these blockages and naturally restore your body’s energy flow to effectively treat your migraines.

For more information, please contact one of our clinics to see if one of these treatments can be beneficial to you. Cindy Bacchus, a registered massage therapist at our Grange location, is also specifically trained in Shiatsu therapy to help treat headaches and migraines.

What is IMS?

IMS (Intramuscular Stimulation)

IMS is a needling technique that treats pain of a

neuropathic origin – when the nerves stop communicating properly with the

surrounding muscle or tissue following injury. The nerve becomes hypersensitive,

circulation to the area is reduced, and muscle shortens and contracts. Fine needles

(typically acupuncture needles) are inserted into the contracted muscle, initiating

a reflex that in turn relaxes the muscle. The tiny injury caused by the needle also

tells the body to kick off the healing process to the area, and restores the normal

communicating function of the nerve.


IMS uses an in depth assessment which looks for the signs of neuropathic pain.

This includes sensory changes (e.g. tenderness to the area), autonomic changes

(e.g. goosebumps, perspiration, excess fluid), trophic changes (e.g. hair loss), and

muscle/motor changes (e.g. pain from pulling on joints and tendons).


Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) Acupuncture vs. IMS

TCM acupuncture uses specifically patterned meridians, or energy pathways

throughout the body to help promote natural healing and reduce pain. Typically

physiotherapists use acupuncture as a modality and adjunct to other treatment

techniques and are not trained in all aspects of TCM acupuncture. The use of

needles follows the specific meridians, as opposed to IMS, which uses physical signs.


While it’s true that IMS can be a more uncomfortable practice than acupuncture,

IMS is designed to stimulate and trigger a reaction in a contracted muscle. For

clients who have experienced chronic pain or limited relief using conventional

physiotherapy methods of treatment, the deep aching, or “twitching” experienced

can be welcome as this can produce more instant relief and results not experienced

IMS can be used to treat a wide variety of conditions. Your physiotherapist will be

able to determine if IMS is an appropriate treatment technique for you.


Lindsay Walker is a physical therapist at our Callingwood location and is certified in IMS needling. Please contact our Callingwood clinic if you would like to book an appointment with her to find out if IMS is for you.